Our right to be naked in the change room

I have to admit lately I haven’t been going to the gym as much as I should have, but that is mainly due to the fact that last time I was there, I noticed a new sign posted inside the women’s change room asking everyone to cover up  and not to walk around or sauna naked. I was stunned and was quite offended. Why would I need to cover up inside a female only change room? Doesn’t that defeat the whole purpose of separating the two sexes?

That left a bitter taste in my mind, and so when I arrived there again today, I double checked again and the sign was still there. With the support of my friend Sarah and her boyfriend Robert, I was determined to step up to the gym staff and ask why this notice is being posted.

The staff was very nice about it, and said that since people are a bit more reserved here, many of them have complained about others walking around naked in the change room. They prefer not to see naked bodies, so the staff decided to solve the problem by posting those sign up. He said it wasn’t strictly enforced, and it’s more to let people know if they see someone uncomfortable please cover up. He also mentioned that it was mostly complained by men and school children. He himself was very surprised when he heard about these complaints, but since it’s a public shared space, they had to do something to accommodate.

So now the question is, are they right in putting the sign up? I for one feel very uncomfortable and constricted, especially when I was sitting in the sauna alone today, one of the lifeguards actually popped in to check if I was naked!

So are we becoming more uptight and unease about nudity in general? Not long ago there was the uproar about not allowing women to breast feed in public, and now this? Are we so far from being comfortable in our own skin that we consider natural things taboo?

It’s one thing to respect people’s beliefs and traditions, but it’s another to accommodate through sacrificing the majority’s freedom. If you are not comfortable seeing others of your own sex naked, then you really shouldn’t be using a public change room!

I hope the staff will consider rewording the sign to let people be more aware of our differences, instead of speaking in a forceful tone.

May we all share the space we occupy together with compassion and awareness.

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2 thoughts on “Our right to be naked in the change room

  1. Rebecca Stevens says:

    Ah nudity – Your gym members should never visit San Francisco. It isn’t illegal to just walk around in the buff, which many individuals enjoy. But for chrissakes – at your own gym – in a changing room the fact that people are uncomfortable with nudity feels weird and off. I mean in the Sauna? You are SUPPOSED to be naked. Your gym members are a wee bit uptight if you ask me. And how uncomfortable to have someone check in on you?? That is just “F”ed. I would be very unhappy with that. I don’t know how you make a policy that makes everyone comfortable – quite frankly. I think, unless people are feeling harassed by other members let the nudity be on. I love going to our local bath house. Women and men have their own days. Nudity galore. Yes! When it is men/women swimsuits are required. Your post made me depressed. Well, that may be pushing it.

    • Sophie Ke says:

      Hey R, I’m glad you feel the same way too. I’ve talked to many people here and they all think it’s totally wrong and offensive to put a sign up like that. Just think if the young girls are not allowed to see real women naked but rather airbrushed and Photoshopped version in magazines, how would they grow up to be secure about themselves? Society talks about self image and healthy role models all the time, and having this happen is just beyond me. I have to agree this is really messed up. I’m not sure how to go about this, any suggestions? I’m depressed about it too and it makes me want to go to they gym even less. : (

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