From the same paper that brought us Samantha Brick, meet an even bigger intentionally-controversial shitnugget. His name's Peter Lloyd, he's a London-based men's issues journalist, and he's suing his gym, the Kentish Town Sports Centre, for gender bias. Specifically, for hosting women's-only gym time for 442 hours out of the year.
(I repeat: the YEAR, which comes out to 18 days a year comprehensively). How in the world would a human rights crime like this occur, one might ask? Lloyd has an answer. "We live in an age of acceptable misandry, [and] most people are too polite to say anything."
After Lloyd complained to the gym manager, he received a response that cited statistics from the Women Sport and Fitness Foundation, which focuses on getting more women athletically active: 26% of women "hate the way they look when they exercise," and, when compounded with the male gaze, significantly decreases the number of women who go to the gym regularly. As Llloyd puts it:
Translated into plain English, this means that a group of agenda-driven feminists say a minority of women 'feel' bad about their bodies. And because heterosexual men are naturally attracted to women, their very existence makes it worse, so they should be banned. No, seriously. That's like trying to clean a dirty face by rubbing a mirror.
Peter Lloyd is a professional writer and knows what metaphors are.
He goes on: "If these women have issues with their bodies, I truly sympathize - but it's their problem, not mine. Nor is it any other man's." Jesus Christ. It is not just ISSUES WITH OUR BODIES, dude. It is years and years and years and YEARS of putting your head down in what's notoriously been a hostile and unwelcoming environment for women.
It also assumes that all men in the gym are straight, when many of them are gay and have no interest in the female aesthetic. In fact, if they really wanted to, these men could be voyeuristic in the showers.
Nice to know that someone who considers himself so subversive on the subject of gender relations still has a healthy embrace of gay stereotypes!
And, hey, speaking of agendas, Peter Lloyd doesn't even care about the pocket change he's going to make off this gym. It's the principle of the thing. "I’m suing the gym for gender bias. Not simply because their policy is unfair, but because it pathologizes masculinity while simultaneously repressing it." And then he cites the massive, ongoing worldwide history of the oppressed patriarchy. Oh, wait, no, he doesn't, because that's not real.
Instead, he uses Sex and The City.
Tellingly, the gym's policy also assumes that only men can objectify the opposite sex. But if TV shows like Sex and The City taught us anything, it's that women can be just as forthright.
And who's to say we don't have our own body hang-ups? We know for a fact that increasing numbers of men suffer from anorexia and bulimia as well as 'bigorexia' - the need to be as muscular as possible. Rates of men having cosmetic surgery are also increasing year-on-year, so the facts speak for themselves.
I agree! It's fucking shitty of us to marginalize boys and men with eating disorders, and we should do something about it. That's a completely different subject, and, for that matter, one that Lloyd doesn't really give a fuck about other than its use as a handy citation for his argument.
This is a toxic message to send out, especially when those affected are frequently young boys in crucial stages of puberty and self-development. Such messages are pernicious. They criminalise men for being male, while telling women that they have less responsibility to contribute to functional gender relations.
And we all know that young men are really feeling the brunt of that toxic message.
If we were all just brains in a jar, and we lived in a magical unicorn bubble where everything could be fair, and there wasn't actual decades of (reported, but probably mostly unreported!) sexual harassment at gyms, I could see your point. But I can't. Give us our 442 hours a year and stop crying.
'Peter Lloyd: Why I'm suing my gym for their sexist women-only hours' [Daily Mail]
Image via Kzenon/Shutterstock