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Gym intimidation: pitting women against women

by Gloria Pancrazi February 9, 2015
Gym intimidation: pitting women against women

Our own body hate not only hurts ourselves, but each other

I went to yoga for my body and my mind that morning. And I left thinking about every other woman’s body there. Which ones were more toned, prettier or had the nicest clothes.

The entire point of yoga is to find the balance between your body and your mind. Any teacher will say so. Focus on your breath, forget anything else you have to do that day or week, and prioritize yourself.

I took that a little bit too literally. Starting in the downward dog position, I noticed my belly. The one I took time to build with beer, sweets and delicious pasta.

Thank God I went to yoga, right? I need to lose that belly fat. Why? Losing it for myself might be 40 per cent of why I am truly trying to have a fit body. The other 60 per cent belongs to looking good in front of men and women. I am putting more importance in the way other people see me than how I see myself.

Rather, I see myself through how others see me.

This is not simply an issue of not being comfortable at the gym or at yoga because of other women. The issue relies in women hating on other women. Women judging one another, and that needs to stop. We need to find solidarity.

Dr. Gail Dines once said, “if tomorrow, women woke up and decided they really liked their bodies, just think how many industries would go out of business.” I think it would be more than simply the businesses. If women were comfortable, would they still tease others for their bodies? Would I still feel uncomfortable at yoga?

Let’s go back one hour before, I went to yoga that day. I picked my clothes very carefully. Lululemon shorts, a pink sports bra, and a crop top. I felt confident in that outfit. Giving power to my image was giving me self-assurance.

Once I had noticed my pregnant-looking belly, I lost my focus. I could only notice its cellulite and its unattractiveness. I stared down every woman in the hot room. Were their outfits better? Did they look ‘hotter’ than me? I was judging all of them.

What I really saw, behind the clothes and my insecurities, were women. Women doing an exercise for themselves. Nobody was looking at me or at my body. We were a group of people, united in that one hour, with the same purpose, following the same norms, and that’s when I knew body differences and judgment had no place in this room.

I wondered if men carried around the same self-doubt in their everyday life and in their work-out environment. They compete as much as we do for the best body. Exercising is no longer about remaining healthy. It is instead turning into complying with the notion of “hot” that we have.

I believe that little imperfections are the perfections of our body. And the biggest imperfections are heightened by our insecurities. Women have built eating disorders because of other people referring to them as “cows” or laughing at their body. There should not be a norm for the body, and women and men should not reinforce that standard.

We are putting in an extra effort into dressing ourselves for a work-out simply for those that surround us. That is the main problem. We value how others see us more than how we see ourselves.

I will love my belly filled with the deliciousness I have eaten. I will stop comparing myself to other women at the gym. The starting point is to stop judging and begin accepting.

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