If you have ever thought it was an absurd notion for skinny people to be discriminated against, think again.
Body Exchange, a gym in Vancouver, specifically caters to the plus-size clientele in hopes of fostering a comfortable community for people who are overweight.
The gym, founded by Louis Green, told the Province that she wanted to aid in gym-goers camraderie,
“Many of our clients have not had successful fitness pasts so I can see the anxiety before we get started and I can see the relief and happiness after we finish. People are often too fearful to become active.”
Overweight patrons of these gyms often feel more comfortable.
Body Exchange isn’t the only one of its kind. Gyms have opened all over the States. Including gyms like Buddha Body Yoga in New York City and Downsize Fitness, which has branches in Las Vegas, Chicago and Dallas.
As well as Square One in Omaha Nebraska, a gym created former competitor Marty Wolff, who appeared on the reality show The Biggest Loser.
He expressed that those who are overweight need a safe haven,
“Clients want a place where they can get fit without feeling like they’re being stared at or criticized,” he told the Daily News. “My whole life, I have always wished there was a place for other big people. So I created one.”
So when the people lose weight from working out do they have to leave?
This is hella counterproductive to fat acceptance.
My gym banned men 4 years ago in order to alleviate the insecurity women feel around men when working out. Membership is up
While I can see both side of the argument I have to laud the gym owners for making a safe space for fatties to work out. Kinda like how Curves is blatantly for women.
I am a fierce fatty who works towards social justice and health and I do not see how this hinders fat acceptance at all. It is the job of the oppressor to work on their issues not the oppressed. True smaller people will be turned away from the gym due to size discrimination but this is one space compared the the vast multitude of spaces where bigger bodies are denied access to or bullied away from. Look up thin privilege to get an idea of where I am coming from (http://heyfatchick.tumblr.com/post/1296446884)
My only sadness connected with this type of gym comes from the societal actions, view points, fat shaming and bullying that makes this safe space so necessary. It is all about what lens you choose to focus on. This can be seen as size discrimination or it can be seen as a response to an ever present, very damaging, socially acceptable and supported size discrimination.
For me it is not about the smaller people.
It is about the people of size who choose to create change in their bodies through fat loss, or those who adopt the HAES standard to have a nurturing safe environment to do it in.
I think fat people should have spaces for and to workout at if they want but please don’t act like they are the only ones discriminated against in the gym. Should there be a gym for the strictly out-of-shape; what about the weak men who feel insecure in the weight area. Everyone has a hang-up or two but I’m cool with a gym only accepting bigger people but make sure you’re not mad when someone doesn’t want fat people.
Yes everyone is capable of discrimination or being discriminated against. Regardless I won’t let you derail me. I’m not telling smaller people to not be upset. Some of the upset may come from internalization or thinking “Hey I’m not one of those people judging others. If I see someone big in the gym working out I think that is great. How could they demonize me like this?”
So I get it. What I am providing a different view point as to why a space like this exists.
Seriously… you’re making me giggle! But I get that too…fighting feelings of discrimination with more discrimination! I will totally be angry when someone does not want fat people. This is every day for me gyms, clubs, work, restaurants, stores, performance spaces, etc. I am defined by my fat and all the negative qualities/false conclusions associated with it first and not as a human being. This is why I embrace and work to create safe spaces for people of all sizes.
repeat: all sizes