This is a just a quick post, which I originally titled:
Dear Planet Fitness: F--k You.
However, just in case you have children nearby who can fill in blanks, I re-thought.
So I came across this "funny" Planet Fitness video over at Fit and Feminist. (A great site, btw). It's just 30 seconds; what d'yall think?
Here are a few thoughts of mine:
1. First off, I swear I am not a humorless lesbian/feminist! I can take a joke!
It's sometimes very funny that androgyny can be confusing. Partly because it's at least theoretically embarrassing to venture a guess about someone's gender and screw it up. Whoops! Wince! Ouch! And I actually thought I wasn't going to be offended by this one when it first started.
'Cuz stereotypes? I can laugh at gay/androgynous/trans stereotypes, since well, as someone who has been "sirred" myself on more than one occasion, I'm aware there's truth to many of them. And when offered with a spirit of inclusion I actually find gender/sexuality differences pretty funny.
But this isn't all in fun.
The ad portrays women who are body builders as indistinguishable from guys. Some of you serious weight lifters might take issue with that.
But hey, lets say some women do look like dudes. And some dudes look like women. This ad portrays gender nonconformists as though they are maliciously TRYING to get poor innocent manly men and girly girls to guess wrong and offend them.
Really? Is this a terrible social problem I was unaware of? But how comforting, I guess, if you are "normal," to be given permission to deal with your discomfort by thinking of yourself as a victim. Ooh, what to do about those nasty butch women and delicate men going around making you feel bad?
In case there's any doubt, the ad delivers a clear solution at the end: Tell those gals who are extremely muscular, whether straight or gay or trans or whatever, that they are not welcome at Planet Fitness. If they think building too much muscle is acceptable behavior for a woman, they've got another thing coming.
Feel better now?
2. Why the heck do we need to exclude and attempt to humiliate others in order to feel more comfortable ourselves?
The ironic thing is that Planet Fitness is theoretically trying to make gyms more inviting to those who don't feel comfortable in them. Is that really the only way they can think of to do that?
3. It's a sad fact that gay and transsexual people have a tendency to get the crap beaten out of them, or even killed, when the cultural climate encourages open derision and intolerance about gender role conformity.
Thanks a lot, Planet Fitness!
4. Oops, I forgot the last time I railed about Obnoxiousness at Planet Fitness, I was trying to implement a whole new trick: positive whining! So let me reframe:
It's too bad the advertising folks at Planet Fitness have their heads up their asses and are trying to humiliate muscular women, but it's awesome that my road trip gym search decisions have gotten simpler: I know what gym I'm never going to set foot in again!
What do you guys think, am I being oversensitive?