I had a chat with a dude in the gym the other day and he expressed that the beauty standard is harder for men than it is for women now, because you have to be big and muscular, but also ripped, and how that's tough because building mass while shredding are like, contradictory goals. So he basically just outlined why the whole "strong is the new skinny" thing is so hard, without touching on the real reasons that it's such bullshit. Hate the system? Don't ask more people to buy in, tear it the fuck down.
But as for it being harder for men? Women still gotta have big boobs and a skinny waist, a curvy butt that isn't fat, they need toned arms, they can't have tuckshop lady arms, but they can't build enough triceps muscle to fill in the skin, and they clearly have to train but they can't look mannish, because the whole thing is still only valuable for sex appealz, so they have to be strong but still feminine, they can't look like they could beat up a dude, and that's all without even bringing up the modern thigh gap bullshit or talking at all about cankles, and if you wanted more of an ankle taper you'd need to build some fuckoff big calves but again you're not allowed to be too muscular remember?
And men are subject to weird criteria too, but no. It's not worse for men it's just that we're really late to the party and now we're here we're amazed at how shit it is. So we're all like "OMG it's so shit! And obvs for some reason it's so much worse for us who've just turned up than it is for you women who've been stuck here all night".
In Australia Fernwood is the big publicly visible women-only gym. Sometimes dudes ask where's our men-only gym? But that's a misunderstanding about what the hell equality actually is. Maybe we'd be more equal if more men felt targeted by women, I don't know. But if you want a men-only gym, go get a room, fill it with iron and play heavy metal music. It's men only. And the women who do wanna turn up aren't going to try to neg you into sleeping with them.
So there are already manstyle man gyms. And women have women-only gyms. So we needn't complain when women want safe spaces for their training. But man-gyms often appear too dudebro and inaccessible, and women-only venues too often objectify women anyway. So what I'd like to see is like a co-ed feminist body-positive gym where you're not bullied by the beauty standard, where men aren't emasculated in the name of progress, where women don't have to fortify themselves against creepy sleazebags, where you check your misogyny at the door, and where motivational techniques aren't homophobic or built upon a nauseatingly simplistic ideal of becoming more fuckable. Then maybe you'd have a gym that could actually be a safe space for anyone who wanted to go? Please tell me that's not a radical idea.