Being a woman in today’s world is not easy. Not only do we have to think about our safety on nights out, when walking our dogs, or even when simply riding public transportation home from work, but we also have to deal with harassment from men pretty much everywhere we go. There’s not a single place we can go to avoid it, sadly. And one of the worst places of all is the gym. Women who are passionate about fitness, from cardio to weight lifting, are constantly subjected to comments, staring, and even assault from men in those spaces. It’s such a big problem that women are starting to call out gym creeps on TikTok in droves. The hashtags #gymcreep and #gymweirdo have more than 60 million views, proving just how major this problem is.
Of course, many men have hit back in the comments section of these TikTok videos, claiming not all men are gym creeps and that they’re being tarred with the same brush as the few guilty parties. This fails to acknowledge the fact that yet again, this isn’t about men. It’s about women.
Gym creeps aren’t just a TikTok problem
disclaimer: no genuine gym creeping was enacted in the filming of this video ⚠️ @DFYNE #gymtok #gymhumour #gymcreep #joeyswoll #fitnessfun
Natalee Barnett, 23, is a fitness influencer who’s been posting gym content for about five years. And while she hasn’t had as many negative experiences as other women, she hasn’t escaped sexual harassment. “But since [that experience], it’s a mission of mine to talk and raise awareness about gym harassment, because I have experienced it quite badly,” she told BBC News.
If you need more evidence of this being more than another baseless TikTok trend, consider this. A 2021 Run Repeat survey found that 56% of women experienced harassment while working out. This could range from simple staring or making comments to being followed, cornered, or even physically or sexually assaulted.
“It really does throw you off, especially given what the gym is about. You go there to focus and put your head down,” Barnett said. “For a lot of people, it’s therapy. So I joined the gym when I was really depressed.” Sadly, it’s even more depressing to realize you can’t even feel at peace at the gym.
While it might seem an issue with a simple solution — people tell women complaining about gym creeps on TikTok to just join female-only gyms — that’s not the point. We should be able to go to co-ed spaces and feel safe. Most of all, we should be left alone at the gym. However, from the looks of the #gymcreep and #gymweirdo hashtags, that’s clearly not the case.
How not to behave in a gym??! #gymcreeps #gymcreep #takeapicitwilllastlonger #gymmemes #gymetiquette #hownottobehaveinpublic #workout #gym #fyp #exp