WoodPEC dress codes cause frustration and confusion for some students

Dressed in long biker shorts and a sports shirt going down to the navel, Sophie Gern (24C) entered the Woodruff Physical Education Center (WoodPEC) in early September for her first training of the year. But WoodPEC staff berated Gern for his outfit because of the small gap between his shorts and his shirt.

“I asked the receptionist where I could go in [the gym], and she immediately made a comment on what I was wearing like “you have to wear more clothes than that to exercise because of COVID, we don’t like people’s flesh,” Gern told About his experience walking in BoisPEC.

The centre’s dress code policy has caused frustration for several students like Gern. Several women have reported being repeatedly coded by the coordinators of the Gymnasium Community Compact for exposing bellies, with some being explicitly told that their clothes violate current COVID-19 rules.

Woodruff Physical Education Center | Photo by Jason Oh

However, leisure and well-being policies website did not attribute this policy to COVID-19.

Appropriate clothing and footwear should be worn at all times, ”the site said on Aug.31. “Shirts should cover the entire torso (back, chest and stomach). Clothing with rips, holes, zippers, buttons and rivets are not allowed on machines with padding.

WoodPEC Fitness and Wellness Director April Flint explained the policy, noting that shirts had been mandatory in fitness zones for several years.

“The policy is unrelated to COVID-19,” Flint wrote in an email to the wheel. “The goal of the policy has always been to protect and extend the life of padded weight training equipment as well as to reduce the risk of spreading bacterial infections, such as MRSA which can easily spread in spaces where equipment is shared and surfaces come in direct contact with the skin. contact.”

This countered the experience of many female students, to whom WoodPEC professors told that their exposed stomachs, whether it was their entire torso or an inch of skin, put the student body at risk of transmitting disease. COVID-19.

“She made a comment about my belly, saying ‘We don’t like bellies because of its flesh,” “Gern explained. “But also my whole arm was out and my legs, so I don’t know what the problem was with the belly in particular.”

However, the gymnasium’s policy regarding student dress code is not isolated to this year. Victoria Amorim (24C) wore a sports bra and high waisted leggings when she visited WoodPEC on October 19, 2020. While training, she said a few WoodPEC employees had attended gathered and looked at her.

“I was confused because I was following all the rules and wearing a mask,” Amorim said. “After a while of critical stares, one of the workers approached me and told me that my outfit was not appropriate. I didn’t have another shirt, so I finished my training in my velor jacket.

Much like Gern, Amorim was shocked by this interaction, saying that the gendered nature of the commentary surprised her particularly.

“I was very upset by this incident, especially because the boys often use the facility topless, especially when playing basketball,” Amorim said. “If it were a man wearing revealing clothes, there would be no problem, but because I am a woman, showing a third of my stomach seems offensive and inappropriate.”

Moved by the incident, Amorim contacted the Office of Discrimination and Inclusion and met with a representative of the office. However, the representative directed Amorim to the WoodPEC website and told him to follow the rules written there.

“It was a very frustrating response to receive,” Amorim said.

The WoodPEC dress code has since had an impact on how women use and feel the gym. After receiving a dress code, Gern said: “I felt violated, so I walked out. Amorim shared similar feelings, saying the incident made her “very uncomfortable” and prompted her to stop using the facility.

“I was minding my own business by working on my own health,” Amorim said. “I was really surprised to experience this kind of sexism at Emory from people who work here. If some sort of dress code is implemented, it should at least apply to everyone and not just girls. “

Flint told The Wheel in an emailed statement that the policy was not meant to harm students and directed students to University resources if they felt they were being treated unfairly.

I’m sorry if anyone has experienced this. This is not the intention of the policy, ”Flint wrote. “If anyone feels they have been discriminated against, they should contact our Zone Supervisors directly, me personally or the Emory Ombudsman’s office.”

Sophie Gern is a contributing writer for the wheel.

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