On April 6, 2020, the Forrest Fitness Center will begin enforcing new clothing policy. The policy’s implementation began about a month ago when the staff working at Forrest Fitness Center began warning anyone that came into the gym of any dress code violations they had committed. The warnings informed students if they were breaking the clothing policy prior to its formal implementation.
California Lutheran University sophomore Shannon Stelzner said she has been dress-coded by the staff working at the fitness center, and said being asked to leave the gym was awkward and didn’t make sense.
“I was told I wasn’t allowed to wear a crop top because it was a violation of the dress code. And I wasn’t mad at [the employee] because she doesn’t make the rules, but it doesn’t make sense and I don’t see how it was a big deal for an inch or two of my torso to show,” Stelzner said.
Having students worry about their gym attire and whether or not they are covered up to the university’s standards creates self-confidence and wardrobe issues for some who only have gym attire that has part of their back or torso slightly exposed.
Implementing a dress code also raises red flags for the possibility of enforceming sexism and biases in the new clothing policy.
According to a study conducted by Fitrated and cited in the article “Gym Dress Codes Create a Problematic Double Standard” on thetriangle.org, 65% of females “avoid the gym over fear of being judged according to a survey of 1,000 people across the U.S.”
While I do understand that the dress code is being implemented to decrease any form of inappropriate gym attire, such as wearing jeans and open-toed sandals, nothing is more embarrassing than walking into a gym with gym attire on that you bought from the workout section of a store, and being turned away or asked to leave mid-workout because your attire is considered to be inappropriate.
There was a time where I walked into the gym and was told that although I could work out this time, I would not be able to come back next time wearing the same top I had on.
The top that I had on was a long-sleeved loose fitting top that had a slightly strappy upper back but covered the bottom half of my back and the entire front part of my body. The only part of my skin that was visible was part of my back and the sports bra that I had underneath.
To make matters worse, two men walked into the gym as I was being informed of the dress code and were both wearing tank tops with large cutouts on the sides that showed their entire torso and chest when seen from the side. However, those two did not receive the same warning about their gym attire from the staff member.
An incident similar to this occurred at California State University, Fresno in 2019, when a female student was asked to cover up the two inches of her torso that was shown, by a male employee.
“Mori was wearing high-waist yoga leggings and a sports bra when the employee made the request, she told the Fresno Bee, claiming on about two inches of her midriff was exposed,” the article, “California University Reviewing Gym Dress Code Policy,” by Fox News said.
There is nothing more embarrassing than being asked to leave a gym when wearing legitimate workout attire because a small section of skin is showing.
Whenever I hear the term “dress code,” I immediately think back to my time in junior high and high school, where I was treated like a child. We were given a long list of items that we could not wear because they were considered inappropriate and a distraction to those around us.
It made sense in high school as we were all minors, however, now we are adults in college and are still being treated the same way.
If we are being expected to carry out the same responsibilities as the majority of mature adults do, we should be treated like adults and be able to wear whatever gym attire we desire, as long as the attire is marketed as gym wear and covers any inappropriate body parts.