Laura, 22, feels at home at the gym where she works out four to five times a week. However, certain situations have already made him very uncomfortable. “I started bodybuilding at 17.says Laura, and I will always remember that I got treated by a man who must have been two or three times my age, to flirt with me. When I told him I was 17, so I was underage, he said, ‘Yeah, but we’re not getting married.'”
The student has already denounced this type of behavior on social networks where videos on the subject are multiplying and in particular on Tik Tok. Women film themselves at the gym to show the insistent stares, sometimes harassment from some men. An ambient sexism that persists and that they no longer accept.
A sexism, well known to the female community that frequents the rooms. “We realize by all the testimonies that come in that there are really worrying behaviors with people who follow you during the session, really look at you all the timedescribes Laura. You have to talk about it around you and try to make men understand that sometimes their behavior can be problematic. And it’s also up to men to try to realize that sometimes they make you feel uncomfortable, even if it’s not their primary intention.”
Laura has opted to stay in mixed rooms but some are turning to women-only spaces. To the north of Paris, the Basic Fit chain, for example, has dedicated part of the building to them. Victoria took her subscription there after bad experiences. “It is often out of considerationshe expands. We see for example the boys who turn around, who come to ask to do the exercise together.
“I once had a young man who came to see me, who pretended to be a sports coach to take my number. He then sent me lots of messages, it was super embarrassing. It’s that’s why I prefer rooms where there are only women.”
Same experience for Radija, her training bag in hand: “When you’re 16 or 17, men looking at you, talking to you, it makes you super uncomfortable. In a room with only girls, that’s never happened to me.” In these rooms, there is no inappropriate behavior but also the feeling of being able to dress as you want. “In a smaller town, I was in a mixed room and it’s true that I was much more often in slightly larger outfitsexplains Ludivine. It’s less comfortable to do certain exercises.” Some of these women do not rule out returning to mixed rooms. But it will be accompanied, another way, they explain, to limit sexist behavior.