The Gym Is Not Sexist


The California Lutheran University Forrest Fitness Center recently received some controversy after attention was brought to a sign posted on the front desk that read, “Midriff must be covered.”

As a female who often wears crop tops and sports bras while working out, I had questions. Does this policy enforce the backwards idea that women must cover themselves to prevent men from becoming tempted?  Is this just another place where I can’t feel safe simply because I am female? Do any other gyms have this rule?

On the 24 Hour Fitness website, there is no rule about covering midriffs in their dress policy.

However, Leo Ramirez, a junior and front desk operator at the fitness center at California State University, Channel Islands said they have the same dress code policy as Cal Lutheran.

“I try to make sure that everyone is feeling comfortable. I just want to be sure that people are not being constantly watched,” Ramirez said.

Forrest Fitness coordinator and trainer Joel Canacoo said the dress code is meant for both men and women.

“This notion that the sign was made for only females needs to be addressed because we tell guys the same thing, so we’re not targeting a specific group We are trying to address the issue within the community and that’s something that everyone needs to understand,” Canacoo said.

It is also against the code for men to cut the sides of their tank tops, exposing their chests and bellies.

Canacoo said it is not a new rule and it has been posted on the school’s website since the Forrest Fitness Center opened in 2009. When a person signs the waiver, they are agreeing to the dress code policy for the gym.

“The response that has occurred has led to a lot of animosity to my staff [and] is something that I wish could end. They are just enforcing what we have asked them to enforce,” Canacoo said.

I think the university’s gym dress policies are a bit more modest than the average commercial gym because it is an environment on campus where both students and faculty members workout together and they want to maintain the level  of professional respect they have for each other.

After having more of an understanding of why the gym has this rule, I no longer question whether or not I am being targeted as a female. The rule is not gender specific. Here at this gym, I feel equal.

Brooke Oyler