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in brief: man sues gym for women-only hours

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UK man Peter Lloyd is suing his gym for 10% of his annual fees on the ground of gender bias. He claims that the council-run centre is discriminating against him as a man for instituting women-only hours. Men and boys are banned from the gym for approximately 442 hours a year (80 minutes a day), and Lloyd claims that: ‘Not only is this an outrageous business model, but it’s also sexist.’

In an article for the Daily Mail, Lloyd vented his outrage over the gym’s policy. Because the gym charges an equal amount for men and women, but men are excluded for 442 hours a year, he believes that he and his gender are being ripped off. ‘No customer, male or female, should pay for gym time they’re not allowed to use.’

The gym instituted the policy because a high percentage of women feel uncomfortable about their appearance while exercising, and are particularly ill at ease in the presence of men. By creating women-only hours, the gym is working towards ‘increasing women’s physical activity levels.’

Lloyd believes that this reasoning denigrates men. In a bizarre twist of logic, he claims that if women are uncomfortable exercising around men, they should also be uncomfortable around lesbians. He writes that kicking men out because they make women uncomfortable uses the same thinking as creating ‘gay/straight’ hours.

The problem with Lloyd’s case is the underlying assumption that his pride and comfort take precedent over all the women that require an hour to themselves to get some exercise without feeling quite as embarrassed by their bodies. Lloyd bullishly writes that ‘If these women have issues with their bodies, I truly sympathise – but it’s their problem, not mine. Nor is it any other man’s.’ He equates giving women space to exercise with saying to men that they are ‘dangerous’. This overlooks the fact that the move is not about men, but about women. His argument is so phallocentric that he cannot grasp the fact that some women prefer time free from the male gaze.

The women-only hour creates a safe space that women rarely experience outside of the home. Suing the gym puts this space at risk, and in turn risks the health of these women. If Lloyd really has a problem with giving women privacy, he should change gyms instead of threatening a positive environment.

 

Would you join a gym that has women-only hours?

Is Lloyd right to claim discrimination here?

Have you ever felt uncomfortable at the gym?

6 thoughts on “in brief: man sues gym for women-only hours

  1. I think you’re being a bit unfair to the chap.

    “The problem with Lloyd’s case is the underlying assumption that his pride and comfort take precedent over all the women that require an hour to themselves to get some exercise”

    However, there isn’t any underlying assumption about that his “pride and comfort”. Lloyd’s underlying assumption, or principle, is that “No customer, male or female, should pay for gym time they’re not allowed to use. Fair enough.

    And no matter how valid the arguments for having women-only time at gyms, the fact that “the gym charges an equal amount for men and women, but men are excluded for 442 hours a year”, is, based on Lloyd’s own reasoning, a legitimate reason for Lloyd to claim compensation.

    Furthermore, Lloyd’s view that “if these women have issues with their bodies, I truly sympathise – but it’s their problem, not mine” may sound bullish, but from the point of view of a male gym user, it’s hard to argue with. Sure, you could argue that Peter Lloyd, or any man, should consider it more of his problem, but do you really think its fair to charge him 10% of his gym fees over it?

  2. Personally I think it is unfair that guys are charged for hours they can’t use, I just disagree with his arguement and course of action on the matter. By ignoring why the gym may have implemented the policy, he comes across as a bit douchey, which is mainly what I was trying to respond to. If the gym changed its policy after Lloyd was a member, perhaps he should be entitled to a reduced rate. But using aggressive and reductive logic to get that, at the risk of the gym’s finances (when the gym is only trying to help women), is not cool.

  3. I’m not quite sure how his logic is reductive and aggressive as the article doesn’t specify *why* Lloyd’s comments are interpreted as such- his views are simply requoted in a disapproving manner.
    Surely, however, If it is phallocentric for men to argue they shouldn’t have to pay a 10% gym levy, isnt it equally gynocentric for a woman to assert that they should?

  4. His article is really aggressive (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2311098/Peter-Lloyd-Why-Im-suing-gym-sexist-women-hours.html?ito=feeds-newsxml) and if his main point is “I’m a man and I don’t see why women are uncomfortable around men, so I’m going to sue the gym for providing a space for them”, then I think that is worthy of discussion. As I said, I don’t really agree with charging men the same amount for hours they can’t use, but (from the sound of his article) the system was in place before he joined, and he’s threatening a positive space for women.

    Also, “women” aren’t asserting he should pay it, it’s a gym policy to charge equal amounts, and I don’t know what the gender make-up of the board for the gym is. As a woman, I think he acted immaturely, but I am only a commentator. Other people of either gender have come out for and against his position, it doesn’t really seem to follow gender lines.

    I think we’ll just have to agree to disagree on this one, but I appreciate that someone reads and cares enough to comment :)

  5. This article was clearly written angrily and with bias. The original complaint from David Lloyd offered 3 options; A) maintain a women’s hour but introduce a men’s alternative for fairness, B) keep women’s hour (and only women’s hour) but annually charge men less, or C) scrap single-gender sessions.

    To so blatantly ignore these very reasonable points is to create bias in your article. Lazy, deceitful and immature.

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