Social Question

JLeslie's avatar

Can Muslim women wear western bathing suits and work out clothes if they are in a an all female gym?

Asked by JLeslie (46155 points ) January 3rd, 2011

At my gym I see some girls and women in our swimming pool covered head to toe. Same in my zumba class. I just wondered if our gym was all female if they could wear a typical swimsuit, like a Speedo? Or, in zumba a tank top and sweatpants like the rest of us?

I was just thinking that I would assume Muslim women who comply with strict rules regarding what they wear, probably don’t have these concerns when around other women. But, I have no idea how it really is.

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11 Answers

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

The kind of clothing worn by some Muslim women have to do with modesty and what are the rules according to the interpretations they follow, not about presence of men…so, I am thinking it is irrelevant that the gym is an all female place.

JLeslie's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir I would have thought it is related to men. To be modest around men. Interesting.

BarnacleBill's avatar

I believe that women dress with more freedom inside the home, but would adhere to dress standards in a public place like a pool or a gym class because it’s not home.

answerjill's avatar

Perhaps they are concerned that a man could walk in at any moment – to deliver something or whatever. For a while, I went to an all-female gym and I saw at least one woman exercise in a hijab. I heard of another all-female gym where they make an announcement if a man comes on the premises. Maybe it is so people can adapt to a different level of modesty if they feel the need to do so? My guess is that there may be different customs, like there are for observant Jewish women who cover their hair. Many will uncover in the presence of a female-only group, but I think that there are some who rarely uncover in front of anybody but the husband, even in the privacy of their own homes.

JLeslie's avatar

@answerjill But, if the men are not allowed in, it should not be a problem I would think. Annoncing there is a man in the building, on the off chance maybe they need to fix something makes sense. Even then, they could restrict fixing things to after hours. It all seems so extreme.

Even wearing a wig, as a Jewish woman would, seems difficult when exercising. I guess in the case of swimming they could easily where a bathing cap. When I have been around orthodox women it was always in their home, or mixed company. I guess the question could apply to them too.

rooeytoo's avatar

Since most religions were designed by men to keep their women in line and to absolve themselves of any responsibility if they are tempted by a woman, it would seem that it shouldn’t matter what they do if men are not around. But if the women dress normally in the presence of other women, it could cause them to become lax and lazy and they might actually start dressing comfortably in other circumstances as well.

When I see a couple walking down the street here in the tropics and the man is dressed normally and the woman covered head to toe in what appears to be heavy black material, I always wonder how do these men do it, how do they so destroy a woman’s spirit and sense to get her to obey this totally unfair, sexist and impractical god?????

nebule's avatar

@rooeytoo quite. GQ though! I don’t personally understand enough about these particular religions though to give an informed answer… but it’s always seemed a little…odd to me.

crazyivan's avatar

I think that it should be mentioned that the vast majority of Muslim women dress esentially just like their Christian or Jewish or Atheist counterparts. It is a small minority that wear the burka, etc.

JLeslie's avatar

@nebule I don’t think anyone is assuming the majority of Muslims wear a burqa. In fact the Muslim women at my gym who are concerned with modesty don’t wear a burqa, they are just covered. Long sleeve shirt, long pants, covered hair.

crazyivan's avatar

Most of the Muslim women I know dress exactly like most of the Christian, Jewish and Atheist women I know. That was the point I was trying to make. I’m sure that NYC isn’t a representative cross-section of any of these populations, though.

JLeslie's avatar

Sorry about mistake in typing @nebule rather than @crazyivan.

@crazyvan, ok, I was just pointing out I was not assuming or generalizing that most Muslim women wear burqa’s, I did ot even mention in it the question, although I can tell how my wording might have implied it. All my Muslim friends dress just like most Americans, so my experience with Muslims is they are exactly like me, just celebrate different holidays. The Q was regarding Muslims who do dress modestly for religious or cutural reasons.

Ironically, here, where I live near Memphis, people dress much more modestly then when I lived in Florida. Not sure if it is a bible belt thing, or what? I have never seen a woman’s stomach except in the locker room. In FL there were women in bra tops and bike shorts not only in the gym, but in the supermarket if they needed to run in and shop after the gym.

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