Weighing In On Bitch Ass Ness: The Problem With Male Gaze At The Gym

Archbold Gym, more like jungle of predators

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Design by Jena Salvatore

At Syracuse University, there is one place more intimidating and harrowing than any other. Only the bravest will venture onto the free-weight side of Archbold Gym amongst the dreaded gym bros.

Many have spent hours on end bouncing around on the elliptical, sweating profusely next to pretty sorority girls in full make-up and ungodly expensive athleisure wear, showing no signs of energy loss whatsoever. These irrationally skinny girls stand from behind a barrier of treadmills and watch brave women navigate around the Sammy brothers, who are grunting and staring blatantly at any spandex-clad ass in sight.

Trying to break through the force field of body odor and testosterone just to lift some steel disks is a task attempted by many and achieved by few. For some reason, the men clad in racerback tanks emblazoned with the words “NO BITCH ASS NESS” aren’t very welcoming to people of the non-gym bro variety.

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These are the men that flex in the mirror with no qualms whatsoever, who stockpile several sets of dumbbells at once, and who sit on weight machines for hours texting and bullshitting. But they “only have one more set left.” Then you can work in. They’re also the monsters that tap women on the shoulder, forcing them to remove their headphones to tell them that their form is wrong, maybe even addressing them as sweetie or honey.

If our current political climate wasn’t enough to remind you that women are undervalued, underestimated and oversexualized, just head on over to Archbold, the local watering hole for awful straight men!

People go to the gym to unwind, get healthy, and focus on themselves for a small bit of their day. But at Archbold, that self-care quickly turns into self-consciousness under the predatory gazes of gym bros. That girl with the banging body doing squats, shockingly, isn’t there to be mind-fucked by a smelly man in a cut-off.

She also really, really, really doesn’t want her form corrected by a man she doesn’t know. My guess? She wants them to mind their own damn business. I know this might be hard news for gym bros everywhere to take, but someone had to say it.

When it’s all boiled down, this behavior in the gym just shows women how little respect men have for them. Why is it assumed that women have less fitness and weight lifting knowledge than men? Why is it considered acceptable to drool over women in the gym when they’re just trying to workout and leave? It comes down to a fundamental misunderstanding of the equity between men and women.

This may come as a surprise to any gym bro reading this, but it turns out that men and women can have the same interests and areas of expertise. Women can actually lift weights, do science, solve math problems, and like sports!

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If you’re having a hard time gaining the courage to venture onto the free-weight side of the gym, try blasting your music and focusing solely on yourself. When you get in your zone, the gym bros fade away.

If you’re feeling brazen, start calling them out. Tell them you don’t appreciate their stares and their comments on the buns of steel you work so hard for. Ask them to work in on their machine and don’t be afraid to speak up if they are hogging the weights.

Small steps like these, paired with awareness from the Gym Bro community (unlikely), can make Archbold Gym—Testosterone Central—a better place for women and other non-gym-bros.

McKenna Moore
About McKenna Moore (9 Articles)
McKenna Moore is a junior Newspaper and Online Journalism major with an IT minor because she would like to maybe make money someday. She is stressed about literally everything and her best friend is a fish named badgalriri.

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