I keep seeing ads for Curves, a women’s only gym. I have issues with this but it has taken a while for me to articulate them.
The issue I have is simple… men are not allowed by law to have mens only establishments. This was a fight that took many years on the feminists part, a fight that they won at least throughout North America. Now, the response I have heard to this is that men can have mens only gyms. On the surface that seems like a decent deal, but it isn’t. You see, a gym doesn’t occupy the same space in a mans life that it does in a womans. Generally men are more relaxed at the gym, they don’t feel pressured to look a certain way to the same degree, and they are more worried about other men judging them than they are women judging them. Also, they have far less fear of being hit on by the opposite sex. In fact, a same sex only gym for men is likely to trigger a lot of mens anxieties exactly the same way a mixed sex gym will for a woman. So, this is not actually even remotely equivalent.
So, what you really need for equivalence is a place where men are more comfortable with only men around. I guess the question is, does such a place exist? Well, it used to at least. Men used to have men’s clubs. These were nicely appointed private clubs that men would attend. Usually the men who attended these clubs had money (because the clubs were expensive) and they spent their time talking with each other and drinking, usually whiskey of some sort. They also often smoke cigars. It has been a few years since the last club in my home town was forced to open its doors to women via lawsuit.
I know the arguments already… women won’t be comfortable working out around men, so they need a private place so they can get the benefit of exercise, something that we need a lot more of in this society. The thing is, you change the character of the conversation in a place when women come in. Men are simply not comfortable talking about some things in front of women… mostly about women in fact. Now, if you are a feminist at this point you are probably shaking your head in disgust, but keep in mind that I am not a member of these clubs and wouldn’t want to be. I prefer to spend my time in the company of both sexes… but I think it is unfair that men simply don’t have that option even if they want it.
Of course, there is one local business that is men only (although they do have a monthly womens night). The local gay bath house. Thing is, again, that isn’t something for the general population of men. It is a place where men go to have sex with other men. If I wanted to sit around and swap bullshit stories with a few mates, the bath house is probably not the place to go. It still doesn’t fulfill the need for a place where men can just be men without any feminine influence.
I propose that women be allowed to have their female only gym, but that men get to have a male only club. That seems to be the only way to be fair. Of course, I will keep going to the clubs that don’t discriminate.