Usually, overweight people are on the receiving end of discrimination, but one Canada gym is banning skinny people so as to cater to the larger end of their clientele spectrum.
In what is either a very clever or very limiting PR move, Vancouver’s Body Exchange gym is trying to create a largely inclusive environment — and by largely inclusive, basically inclusive of only larger folks.
In the weight wars, it’s a bit easier to sympathize with fat people than thin ones, but a ban on skinny people is an entirely new thing and one that might make even the most fervent of fat acceptance advocates balk at the implications. Sure, gyms can be a daunting place for someone who is out of shape and uncomfortable donning a sports bra in front of meatheads and gym bunnies, but is a ban on skinny people in a gym an acceptable thing?
Again, it’s difficult to even begin to gauge all the places in which fat people are discriminated against — today is the first day of summer, and chances are you’ve been subjected to a number of articles or posts about what constitutes an acceptable “beach body” (hint, the one you have) as well as a litany of fat hate around the internet warning anyone who has an ounce of cellulite to cover up at the beach lest they be mocked by Daniel Tosh or any other web haters who have an internet connection and a desire to feel better about themselves by denigrating others.
(Our own post about the fatkini project over at xoJane garnered a tremendously mixed reception and no small amount of fat hate in the comments.)
So it’s hard to feel all that bad when the hate gauntlet is turned upon the thin rather than the overweight, where it’s usually pointed. But Body Exchange’s skinny gym ban can’t really be okay if you’re anti-body-shame, can it?
Body Exchange’s founder and CEO Louise Green explained:
“Many of our clients have not had successful fitness pasts so I can see the anxiety before we get started and I can see the relief and happiness after we finish… People are often too fearful to become active. There wasn’t a model that offered camaraderie.”
Do you agree with Body Exchange’s skinny people gym ban?