Oh, the male gaze. How can we possibly avoid it? It follows us everywhere, from classrooms to canteens, from the streets to the clubs. Its not their fault for looking, of course, but our fault for what we’re wearing. I remember distinctly during my college days being sent home one afternoon for wearing a shoulderless jumper. Why? Because, and a kid you not, it might “inflame the male staff”. Not only is this not my problem, but its fairly insulting to the male staff to assume they can’t control themselves around a teenage girl’s exposed arms.
So I fully sympathise with South Carolina college student Sarah Villafañe, who is speaking up after she was humiliatingly kicked out of the College of Charleston gym for wearing… Wait for it… Ordinary work-out gear.
Sarah posted a picture of the black crop top and leggings she was wearing on Facebook. Not that it matters, but this is what she looked like:
She was, she said, minding her own business when she was asked to “put on a shirt” or be forced to leave. She told the gym employees, and the gym manager, that she was, in fact, “wearing a shirt”. And they kicked her out.
“I bought this outfit to work out in because it’s COMFORTABLE,” she wrote on Facebook. “What is the issue? Why can’t I work out in this outfit? Is my belly button distracting to the general 85% male demographic that your gym serves? I’m forced to leave, WHY? Honestly, I’m so floored that I just got kicked out for this. DO BETTER COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON.”
Her post went viral, and to date has been shared over 500 times.
She later edited the post to include a formal response from the college. “The gym has since said that they kicked me out for ‘sanitary concerns.’ However, they never made those sanitary concerns clear when they asked me to change.”
More to the point, how is wearing a crop top unsanitary?
“They told me I need ‘more coverage’ and nothing more. Not to mention, their website has no written dress code anyway. The dress code at the front of the gym simply says ‘Athletic wear must be worn.’ I would say that what I’m wearing (whether you believe it’s a sports bra or a crop top) is completely normal and considered athletic wear.
Sarah concluded that she hopes more schools will change their sexist policies and let girls work out in peace without being told what to wear.
READ MORE: Woman Sacking For Being ‘Too Good Looking’