in brief: man sues gym for women-only hours
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?