Eliminating “The Stare”

Courtney Brooks

Whether you are a fitness freak or just spend a few hours in the gym a week, if you are a female, chances are you’ve experienced “The Stare.” For those of you who are unfamiliar with The Stare, which I have taken the liberty upon myself to name, it is when a woman is working out in the gym and every pair of male eyes glare at her, salivating like she is a piece of meat. I am no feminist, but the whole concept of The Stare is awkward, distracting and, in some cases, downright disrespectful.

courtney bw

If you have gone to the gym at least once in your life, the odds are in your favor that you have either experienced or witnessed The Stare in full effect. It’s not hard to miss; a woman will be minding her business, working out as most of the men in the room blatantly stare at her, as if she is an object for their personal amusement. I am an avid gym goer and I pretty much encounter The Stare on a daily basis. Whether it’s on the treadmill, the stair master or even when I venture into the free-weight room, I always have the awkward feeling of someone watching me. It completely distracts me and prevents me from getting in a good workout.

After being completely fed up with The Stare and its effect on my workouts, I decided to ask a couple of my male friends why they do this. Here are their reasons and my simple solutions:

1.They think it is flattering. Most guys said that they are attracted to women who take the initiative to better themselves by going to the gym. The way they try to get this across is by staring at them to try to get their attention. Well guys, if this is your tactic, you’re doing it wrong. You are more likely to annoy a woman than you are to get her attention. Instead, wait for her to finish working out and then start a conversation with her.

2.Woman in the weight room are abnormal. It is human nature to stare at things that are outside the norm and some men feel like a woman lifting heavy weights just isn’t normal. It is true that at one time the weight room was a man’s sanctuary, but come on guys, it’s 2014; women are just as willing and able to be in the weight room as you, so stop staring and get used to it!

3.They don’t notice they are staring. The gym is a place where everything is heightened. There is music blasting, adrenaline pumping and, most likely, a lot of testosterone flowing. Some guys said that when they see an attractive woman working out they stare out of habit; they don’t mean to be rude or disrespectful, but they just don’t recognize what they are doing. This can easily be resolved by paying more attention to what you are doing and stopping yourself when needed.

Exercise is an important part of everyone’s life, so everyone should feel completely comfortable going to the gym. Women have a right to workout, free of The Stare, just as much as men do. Men in the gym need to remember that women are not pieces of meat and don’t enjoy being looked at as one. They also should remember that gender roles in the gym are a thing of the past and it’s perfectly normal for a woman to be lifting weights. I think I speak for all women when I say that the time has come to eliminate The Stare!