Via Fit and Feminist (a blog I can’t believe I didn’t know about until now) comes this ad for Planet Fitness. Supposedly about how they’re a gym for non-gym-rats*. Actually about how disgusting and laughable it is to be (a) a woman with big muscles and (b) a person whose gender can’t be immediately determined by a total stranger — and how they’re a safe haven from these dreadful people.
The tagline at the end of the ad: “Not her planet. Yours.” Right. Because the whole world is just one big safe playground for trans people to run around in. Bathrooms especially. So Planet Fitness is thoughtfully creating a safe haven, the one place in the world where “normal” people can be untroubled by the sight of people whose gender presentation doesn’t fall neatly into one of two clearly demarcated gender identities. Including trans people, or even just cisgendered women with big muscles.
Not her planet. Yours. That pretty much sums it up, doesn’t it?
Caitlin at Fit and Feminist has this to say (among other things — her whole piece is well worth reading):
Planet Fitness has been trying to carve out a niche for itself as a gym where so-called normal people can exercise in a “judgment-free zone” but ironically they can’t quite seem to accomplish that goal without coming across as judgmental assholes themselves.
A “judgment-free zone,” huh? Well, you know what? I feel judged by this ad. I’m not even a trans woman, and I feel judged by this ad. I’m a woman who loves to lift weights, whose health care routine largely centers on lifting weights, who loves seeing her muscles get bigger and more toned and defined, whose identity as a woman includes “strong, powerful, healthy, loves her body.” And I’m a woman with many friends and colleagues who are transgendered, and who doesn’t feel welcome in places where they’re not welcome. Was there really no way to get across “we’re a gym for non-gym-rats” without conveying “if you don’t fall into a strict gender binary, we’re going to mock you and humiliate you and explicitly tell you that this place isn’t for you”?
Not much else to add, really. Except this: Fuck you.
*Side note: It occurs to me that “gym for non-gym-rats” is a pretty slick racket. My understanding is that gyms typically make a big chunk of their profit margin off of people who join, eventually quit going, but keep their memberships and keep paying their monthly dues because they don’t want to admit that they don’t go and convince themselves that they’ll start going back any day now. If everyone who paid a monthly membership fee actually went to the gym regularly, gyms would be hugely crowded and way more expensive to maintain. So marketing yourself specifically as a gym for non-gym-rats basically means marketing to a demographic that’s a lot more likely to slack off — and your ratio of “monthly membership fees” to “maintenance costs for people who actually go to the gym” is a whole lot higher.