Social Question

JLeslie's avatar

Does your gym have a dress code for its members?

Asked by JLeslie (47073 points ) July 2nd, 2011

My gym is a full gym, indoor pool, aerobic type classes, spinning, basketball, weights, treadmills, etc. There is a rule that women can not show their stomachs. No bikinis, no bra tops, etc. In my opinion it is being overly strict. Literally, if there is a two inch gap between the end of your shirt and the top of your shorts, you will be spoken to, possibly sent home, definitely they don’t want to have to speak to you twice.

Is your gym the same way? What do you think about such a code?

I am not really concerned whether or not they are allowed to have a code, I am not trying to fight city hall or anything, just wondering if other people think this is extreme. But, if you have an opinion on whether it should be legal or how these rules might come about feel free to share.

Just a little more background my gym is subsidized and run by the city. Members do pay to join, it is not simply open to the public for free. I live outside of the city, so I pay more. Do you think it should be different for government run facilities compared to private?

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21 Answers

KateTheGreat's avatar

Absolutely not! I kind of wish they did though. There are some women who DO NOT need to be wearing the sports bra tops that show their stomachs.

But your gym sounds overly strict.

JLeslie's avatar

Oh, can everyone tell me what part of the country they live in? Or, which country if outside of the US? Thanks.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

No dress code at my gym… but it is a small gym and it is mostly men. It’s just really close to my house, and convenient. I’m in Ohio.

SavoirFaire's avatar

I imagine we couldn’t violate any public indecency laws, but there is no dress code beyond that at my gym.

I am currently located in the Southern United States.

Cruiser's avatar

You would have to be naked and on fire to violate any dress codes at our gym and it is a pretty nice place to boot.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

No bikinis, no bra tops, etc. In my opinion it is being overly strict. Seeing that we are in a litigious easily offended society it might be more to thwart complaints or grumbling than being overly conservative. Since what is offensive or obscene you can’t seem to put under a microscope they probably us a wide brush to avoid any hint of it. Maybe it was some woman in the past that complained they were being ogled or undressed with the eyes, that made them complain, thus ushered in the current dress code. I could see where a bikinis that was not Brazilian, strapless, thong, see-thru, etc might be a bit overkill, but you never know if someone would complain about it, usually those who can’t wear them well, and to avoid lawyers getting involved opt for the path of least resistance.

YARNLADY's avatar

Yes, our Tennis and Swim club has a dress code, but not as restrictive as yours. Swim clothing must be worn in the pool, not cut offs, and all clothing is subject to management/owner approval

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

I am not willing to put a blanket statement on the dress code in a fitness center solely based upon one experience, or even more, on the South being more conservative than the North without further investigation. What would be interesting is to poll US companies, like Golds Gyms, to see what their dress code policy is. It would also be important to know if the company is franchised or not.

JLeslie's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer Fair enough. @SavoirFaire lives in the south with no restrictions, I am going to assume it is not along the coastline or southern FL, which is very different than being in “the south.” But, the question is not really assuming the south always has restrictions, it is just saying if there are strict dress codes, probably more likely the gym is in the bible belt. I know bible belt and south are not synonomous, and I do think this has a lot to do with religion. Maybe in Dearborn, MI gyms are likely to be more conservative because it has a large Muslim population? I have no idea if they are, just thinking out loud.

Also, to your point, maybe it has something to do with if the gym is marketed towards families or adults.

I guess @Hypocrisy_Central point is to err on the side of caution, and avoid complaints by having strict codes, or make it a good atmosphere for those who are very conservative. Every so often I see people come to the gym covered head to toe, I am assuming Muslim, and they never last. I never see them more than a few times. If I remember correctly @Hypocrisy_Central is one of our socially conservative jellies.

Part of the reason I make these generalizations, and I realize generalizations based on little information can be wrong, is because more than once I have heard people I know here who went to Christian schools for primary and secondary talk about how wearing a uniform prepared them to be civilized in life. I am actually pro-uniform in school, but not for that reason.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@JLeslie I guess @Hypocrisy_Central point is to err on the side of caution, and avoid complaints by having strict codes, or make it a good atmosphere for those who are very conservative. We are in a sue happy nation. That is why you have warning labels for things common sense and logic should tell you not to do. The moment they leave it up to people to think for themselves, and some dingle dwarf puts hot coffee between their legs while driving, thinks their cruise control on the RV is autopilot and leave the wheel to make a sandwich, etc. some lawyer sees a big payday. If you offend the least or try to, you lessen the chance to get sued, no matter how weak it might be.

Sorry, but the conservatives say I am too liberal, and the liberals say I am way too conservative. I am just me, logical.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Thanks @JLeslie. You bring up a valid point that the US South is not the same as the US Bible Belt. I should have worded it differently. It would be interesting to hear from more people that live in the Bible Belt and belong to a fitness center.

As I mentioned on the other thread that inspired this one (and thank you for starting a new thread, as it is worthy of discussion), I have witnessed both companies and individual owners make dress code rules based upon personal beliefs and/or consistent feedback from preferred customers.

This is why I feel it would be interesting to find out what the dress code is of a US national chain and if it varies by location.

Since you mentioned Muslims, I live a mile or two from the fitness center that you go to. There are a fair amount of Muslims in our neighborhood, so maybe that has something to do with it.

linguaphile's avatar

Is your gym open to young children? If so, maybe that is their premise, to avoid a non-family-friendly environment?

SpatzieLover's avatar

Some gyms here do a strict dress code for a completely different reason: Comfort for it’s female members.

We had a few gyms that were all about the “pick-up” so, several gyms opened under the premise that members would not feel like “meat” when they came to work out.

Is it possible this gyms doesn’t have women/girls showing skin so that their female clients feel comfortable enough to just come to work out without the need to look hot?

EDIT: Midwest USA

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@SpatzieLover That is what I was trying to say, in so many words.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@SpatzieLover If so, I wonder how useful of a policy it is. The only women I’ve ever seen hit on at my gym were not showing much skin at all. And one, who never wears anything particularly tight, gets hit on regularly. Skin is not the only thing that gets attention, especially at a gym.

JLeslie's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central That is what you were trying to say?

@SpatzieLover I do think it is to promote a family atmosphere, as @linguaphile said, and that it is a religious town. The combinations of the two. In gyms where some girls wear skimpy clothes does not preclude other women from covering up, so I don’t see why you need a rule? No matter what this gym was going to have people of all ages I think, it is a city run gym, the ambiance is not pick-up oriented.

Now, I will give you that women can start to feel competitive, and then heavier women may not go to the gym because they feel bad about themselves. I think that is more likely than the worry about the pick up. In fact the pick-up scenerio buys into the men cannot control themselves BS that the religious promote, I hate that. In FL we were half naked all the time, outside of the gym too, and men did just fine. Maybe because it was so normal, so commonplace?

There was a new wellness center opened by some Christian church in a nearby town a year or two ago, I could try to search for the story. It caught the media’s attention, and in the news report it was mentioned that it would have a dress code; kind of like a not to worry it is safe to bring your teenager there. I think it has to do with that sort of atitude. And, I don’t mean just the Christians, any religion most likely. Maybe the JCC a few towns over has rules that are similar? I have no idea. We have a huge orthodox population here. Although, I have to say, it would shock me if the JCC had the rule, even though that is actually a religious organization. Especially since they have an outdoor pool. Maybe I will call and find out.

JLeslie's avatar

I looked up the JCC in Memphis and they have a similar dress code, no middriffs in the gym, I could not find if the pool has possibly a different dress code. Then I looked up the JCC in Boca Raton, FL, my husband used to be a member there, and on the website I could not find a dress code like that. It does not mean they don’t have one, but it is not listed on the site at least. Unless I missed it. Both of course are family oriented, it’s a JCC.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@JLeslie That one reason why they are so anal about what the dress code is was to err on the side of caution for those women who might view it as a meat market, thus a hostile workout environment and want to sue the place for it.

JLeslie's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central Sue? I get what you are saying, but how can an establishment be responsible if I choose to wear a bikini and a man hits on me. I wore the bikini, the gym did not force me to wear anything in partiuclar. If it made me wear go-go boots and dance in a cage before allowing me to go on a treadmill, then maybe I could sue them.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@JLeslie Sue? I get what you are saying, but how can an establishment be responsible if I choose to wear a bikini and a man hits on me. I wore the bikini, the gym did not force me to wear anything in partiuclar.[sic] This is how I logically think it will illogically go. You want to wear a bikini, how small or sexy is up to the viewer, maybe they hit on you, be it man or woman, you have no interest and they move on to hit on another. One of the other women hit on, can in error, attach their being hit on to you and the other women wearing bikinis because they are thinking it made for a more sexually charged atmosphere. Since they are being hit on, which might have happened anyhow, they in their minds blame the establishment for not curbing the wearing of bikinis or other vestige they deem sexy and thus toning down the thought or temptation of allure at the gym, then they want to sue. It off its face it seems ludicrous, but this is America where people more than not want to settle things in court than out of it.

JLeslie's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central Yeah, ludicrous. Lol.

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