“Today at Santa Clara University, I was asked to leave the gym because of what I was wearing.”
Religious institutions have a long history of discomfort with the female body. But when it comes to functional workout gear that helps people maintain their health, the scrutiny is plain ridiculous. A year ago, Christian blogger Veronica Partridge caught the media’s attention after she decided to eschew “lust-inspiring” yoga pants and leggings in favor of something less enticing to men. Now religious body-shaming is making headlines again, this time concerning Santa Clara University student Grace DiChristina, who was thrown out of the Jesuit school’s gym for wearing this outfit:
DiChristina’s outfit barely revealed any stomach, raising the question, What is appropriate for women to wear in the California college’s gym? Frustrated and upset with the university’s decision, DiChristina took to Facebook to rant about the “humiliating and degrading” actions taken by staff.
Today at Santa Clara University, I was asked to leave the gym because of what I was wearing (as you can see in the picture, less than an inch of my midriff is showing). I spoke to the supervisor of the athletic facility and she gave me two reasons for why my outfit was inappropriate: MRSA (a staph infection by the name of Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus) and the fact that this is a Jesuit institution.
As for preventing MRSA, it makes me feel very unsafe that apparently the only way to keep me safe is to cover my skin. If I have to cover my midriff, shouldn’t we all be wearing gloves on the elliptical or long pants on the mats? People are still sweating on other parts of the equipment, and just protecting my stomach will do nothing. Muscles tees with long armholes are extremely popular for men.
The fact that this is a Jesuit school should absolutely not be linked to the dress code at the gym. I do not go to the gym to be sexualized or looked at by other people—I go to improve my health and my self-confidence. Being told to leave the facility because my outfit is inappropriate is more than just annoying; it’s humiliating and degrading. My workouts become much less enjoyable when I have to worry about people looking at my body.
I absolutely agree that MRSA is a serious illness and we should address it. However, shaming women for what they wear to the gym is not the way to prevent it … Not sharing towels and wiping down machines are much better ways to prevent MRSA than forcing women to either cover their stomachs or leave.
(H/T College Candy)