November 24, 2005

Anti-Discrimination Exemptions

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:15 am by thelawthoughts

Given the upswing in female only gyms, it was only a matter of time before men began to find themselves able to use facilities to the exclusion of women. In this VCAT decision, the Greater Shepparton Council was granted an exemption under the Equal Opportunity Act to exclude women from the ‘Aquamoves’ class outside normal public hours. The class, which I assume is aqua aerobics, will only be available to men, at the same fee as normal users of the facility.

I am a bit hum-ha about these kinds of exemptions. McKenzie DP, in her reasons, pointed out that the poor body image of some men, or the religious belief which restricts semi-naked public appearances, were good reasons to give this exemption. The underlying policy seemed to be the encouragement of male exercise.

I have this argument with my dad all the time. He won’t go to the gym to exercise, because he thinks all the big tough he-men will look at him funny because he is overweight. Crap, I say. Get in there and be active. Why should anybody feel like they can’t exercise without feeling intimidated, especially in a community centre like, say, the local YMCA?

I can understand the need to encourage people to exercise. In some cases, positive discrimination is a good idea, to discriminate to achieve a certain [good] outcome, rather than prevent discrimination to prevent a bad outcome. Still, and I don’t know why, I can’t reconcile myself with segregated exercise, whether based on sex, race, religious beliefs, weight levels or anything else.

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2 Comments »

  1. I can’t reconcile myself with the fact that people care so much what other people do. If someone wants to set up a class for women only, men only, fat people, thin people or Martians chances are if I don’t qualify it wouldn’t be for me anyway. Oh and look there is a place down the street that is for me… great, I’ll go there!

    Also you should tell your dad jokingly that he shouldn’t flatter himself. People think about us around 1/50 of as much as we think they think about us. In any case, the quickest way to get respect in a gym is to wipe down your machine, re rack your weights and offer to spot if someone needs it. If that fails a 130 kg dead lift usually shuts most people up… well that’s what I’ve found.

    Just don’t go to a University gym. If you do don’t bother comparing yourself with others. The people there tend to be fit and smart, I can’t win either way, you end up being the beta male in the room what ever criterion you choose.

  2. Correct in every respect, although I tend to care too much about what other people do…

    You are right, I keep telling him that nobody gives a shit whether he is even in the gym – I think he just wants an excuse not to exercise and this case just attempts to take away one more excuse for people.

    And I find that given my weightlifting capacity, people just stare at me drop-jawed until I put my 2.5kg weights back on the rack. Then they say, wow, why is he wasting his time here? But that is about the extent of it!!!


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