Hearing the men of Florida A&M University complain about the rec center being open to women only for certain time periods is like hearing white people complain about affirmative action.
It’s like me eating an entire pizza and complaining when someone asks for a slice.
The fitness center is open six days a week, and men are in the majority most of that time. Now two days a week for two hours, the gym is closed to males in an effort to encourage more women to work out. That’s four hours out of six days away from your beloved weights and cardio machines.
We are not fabricating a problem here. Of nearly 12,000 FAMU students, most are women. However, the staff of the rec center has said that at any given time, the majority of its patrons are men.
That’s clearly disproportionate, and the entire reason for The Royal Flush program is to try to address this disparity. In an age where black people suffer from health problems at alarming rates, there must be some valid reasons keeping more women from getting it tight and right.
The media wants me to be skinny, black men want me to be thick (or white) – the messages are confusing. But the efforts being targeted to women will specifically speak to us about wellness inside and out, including healthy eating patterns, proper exercise methods and skincare. Can I get my image and esteem together?
Contrary to popular belief, not all women ‘wanna be seen.’ It can be both intimidating and uncomfortable to walk into a gym and be surrounded by men. Yes, you’re there to work out, but fellas, is that all you’re doing? Tell me you aren’t paying the girls any attention, and I’ll tell you there’s no subtle pressure of being judged.
You know how you don’t like to ask for directions? Some women might also be a little embarrassed to admit they don’t know how to begin to tackle the unfamiliar equipment. Removing the men for a moment may help erase the uneasiness.
To my understanding, the same initiative was in effect in the old fitness facility. No one was complaining then. The sudden uproar over an old situation hurts your cause a little bit, guys. I bet if the ladies were in there doing pole-dancing classes, a recent fitness craze, no one would be upset about that.
Beyond that, an environment of all women will likely be more conducive to progress because we have friends to motivate, support and bond with. The program focuses on empowerment, not exclusion.
As far as the contention that the gym should be open to men only for a certain time, by the look of things, it may as well be.
Driadonna Roland is a senior broadcast journalism student from Detroit. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.