The TikTok trends denouncing sexual harassment of women in gyms


It can be difficult to find the motivation to go to the gym, but what if you have to worry about "creeps and weirdos" when you arrive?

On TikTok, where videos with the hashtags GymCreep and GymWeirdo have received more than 100 million views, that is the most recent query being posed by users.

The phrases typically refer to male gym patrons eyeing or approaching female exercisers.

Many people can relate to the uncomfortable situation, based on the comments.

Social media users have argued that the videos unfairly target men, and people who record without permission have come under fire.

But for London-based fitness influencer Natalee Barnett, it's more important for women to feel secure and at ease than it is to target men.

While the 23-year-old claims her overall experience at the gym has been "OK," she has encountered sexual harassment. She has been posting about fitness online for about five years.

But ever since that incident, she says, "I've made it my mission to talk about and spread awareness about gym harassment because I've experienced it quite badly.".

Many people "never return once they experience gym harassment," according to Natalee.

56 percent of women in the United States, according to a Run Repeat survey from 2021, said they had experienced harassment while working out.

A variety of "gym harassment" including staring, following, being cornered, and inappropriate touching are described by Natalee.

Given what the gym is all about, it really does throw you off. You go there to concentrate and to hunker down.

Many people use it as therapy. So, when I was really down, I started going to the gym. ".

With more than a million followers, Natalee uses her online platform to call out offenders and ensure that they are aware of "proper gym etiquette" in order to combat gym harassment.

When a man pushed a mat under her as she was sitting and performing an exercise, she once posted a video on Twitter about how uncomfortable it made her feel.

She claims it came off as "a little creepy," but she believes it was just bad gym etiquette.

Following her own experiences and messages from young women sharing their own accounts of harassment, including men making comments about their bodies, Natalee wants to open her own women's-only gym.

There aren't many women-only gyms, and the ones that do exist are usually quite small, so I feel like it's my responsibility to do this for women, she says.

"The main goal is to unite women in a secure setting. And I consistently assert that there is no agenda against men in women-only gyms. ".

In Natalee's opinion, men ought to intervene on behalf of women, just as they would in social settings other than the gym.

And the women just have a softer approach [when checking in], she adds.

"Because I occasionally believe that men are unaware of their height or size. It can also be very intimidating at times. ".

She claims that large gym chains need to do much more and that sometimes it seems as though they "care more about memberships than members.".

"I believe that memberships should be terminated much more frequently because many times all it takes is a slap on the hand to get you to rejoin. ".

Newsbeat enquired about the matter from a number of gym chains in the UK.

"We have policies in place to ensure that our teams and members know what behavior isn't acceptable," said Ann-Marie Murphy of The Gym Group.

These assist us in fostering an accepting environment where people feel free to express any concerns because they know they will be supported and that a clear procedure will be followed. ".

"Harassment of any kind is unacceptable and will not be tolerated in any form, by any person, at any time," a PureGym spokeswoman said.

"Any allegation of misconduct is followed by an investigation, after which appropriate action is taken in light of the available data and evidence. In more severe situations, this might result in a person being barred from the gym or involving the police. ".

Additionally, Nuffield Health claimed to take "a zero tolerance approach.".

"The contract of the offender will be terminated for any unacceptable behavior toward women or any member. " .

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