|Isn't this just reverse discrimination? If we want to |
change things, shouldn't we be the change we
wish to see in others?
That's right! Someone finally did it. They opened a gym in Canada that turns away the skinny "Lululemon people" and welcomes the overweight and obese. At first glance, this may be just what is needed to provide larger people with a safe and comfortable facility free of the half naked fitness people (I get that...and so did my graduate research). It is a fact, that some of the major barriers to exercising in a public space (i.e. the gym) are caused by those that operate and frequent the gym. From the workout gear to the language of fitness, it is enough to scare off most novice exercisers.
So having a gym that caters only to "people of size" is a great idea! Or is it? Isn't this reverse discrimination? Just like those gyms that are for women only...it discriminates against men; so does a gym that welcomes the fat and rejects the thin. Is it changing a culture or just ignoring it? Wouldn't it be better to offer a gym that caters to all but offers a dress code and/or code of conduct? I worked at the university gym and our dress code strictly prohibited tanks tops and bra tops to enhance the feeling of inclusiveness and offer a welcoming environment. It worked! It was brilliant! If I owned a gym, I would be doing the same thing.
I would also include equipment for all body types (not just suited for the skinny bum) and never allow pictures of "fit" and "beautiful" bodies on the walls. The YM-YWCAs have some amazing wall art that reminds the clientele of its' mission and philosophy...no matter body type, financial or social status. Again, brilliant and very inclusive.
There are so many steps one can take to create inclusive fitness environments, it isn't necessary to ban someone because of their body type. I believe doing this makes you no better than people who negatively judge those people who are overweight and obese. True, we need to take a stand again the fitness industry's definition of fit and beautiful, but is this the right way to go?
I think, if we want to change, we need to change the minds of those that continue to hold on to that archaic definition of "health"....but I guess it is easier to open up a gym and ban them instead.