If you're a woman who has a problem with the name of CrossFit's women-only "Tough Titsday" class, you get kicked out of the entire boy's club.
CrossFit South Brooklyn — a branch of the cultish fitness fad overrun by testosterone-fueled bros who are markedly more douchey than most bros — offers a four-part women's only class called "Tough Titsday" for one hundred bucks. "Novice Ladies, it is time to get your estrogen on," reads an online description. Gym owner David Osorio thinks the impudent name fosters ladycommunity spirit. One potential CrossFitter, Rachel,* disagreed.
Rachel recently emailed Osorio to tell him that she was enjoying CrossFit and considering purchasing a class card but took offense to the moniker "Titsday."
"do you really have to call a female class "titsday" really???" she wrote. "it's kind of misogynistic — which was not the vibe I got at the gym. I suggest changing the class name to something more neutral — and I'm not an uptight person but it's a repulsive word — my opinion and probably other women's opinion."
Rachel received a response from Margie Lempert, a former coach at CrossFit South Brooklyn who created and ran both the recurring Tough Titsday workshop series and accompanying women-only, semi-annual powerlifting meet. "It is rare in our culture that we foster and celebrate women in strength, so I am especially proud that I was a part of a business that goes out of its way to do so," she wrote. "As for the name, well, it is just as it seems, a subversive, cheeky reclamation of silly vulgarity. It is my name, and in the two years that we've been running the workshops and meets, the only people who occasionally have felt awkward about it, ironically, have been men. But it has never been taken as anything other than good fun."
Rachel wrote back that the series sounded fabulous, but she couldn't bring herself to take a class with the term "Titsday" in the name, even if it was preceded by "Tough":
I don't understand why you would use the word tits for a women's class - granted you're being cheeky but it's objectifying and offensive to some people and obviously if I am not the first person who wasn't comfortable with it and didn't get your sardonic sense of humor then isn't that a good indication that there's a problem?
It's also confusing because I don't know how to perceive your business- I really liked foundations, I was ready to join until "titsday" was mentioned and I had to backtrack and rethink if i even liked you guys - I can't tell you how to run your business but I would avoid any type of misconception it may bring.
Anywho it's only one opinion and there are many people that join your gym and it probably doesn't matter what I think but if you counter your "tough titsday" with "tough cockday" or "big balls day" maybe I'll join your class - BTW that was a sardonic joke.
This time, Osorio himself responded, deflecting responsibility to Margie in a rather defensive manner: "I'm sorry you're offended by the name of Margie's class, but it's been a great program and our female population has really enjoyed being a part of it. This is the first time in over two years anyone has actually taken serious issue with the name, so from my vantage point I don't think the name presents a problem and hasn't been interpreted as misogynistic by the many many women who have participated in it."
"Am I crazy? or am I being made to feel crazy?" Rachel asked him. "it IS offensive - confirmed by many of my friends/acquaintances/coworkers/my other crossfit lady friend. this is a lack of judgment on your part. I may join but not the titty class."
Osorio then reached a breaking point: he could no longer tolerate Rachel's point of view. Shit got oddly personal ("you know essentially nothing about me") and philosophical ("like many things in life, it's a matter of perspective and context"). He banned her from the gym:
1. You're stating that your opinion is a fact. I could just as easily poll 50+ women who have participated in the program itself that would say the exact opposite. Like many things in life, it's a matter of perspective and context.
2. What I find offensive is you accusing me of having a lack of judgement when you know essentially nothing about me, the program, the people involved and the many positive experiences we've created because of it. I no longer feel the need to justify myself or prove that point to you.
3. You will not be joining the gym.
Rachel said she was shocked that Osorio banned her from CrossFit South Brooklyn "because I expressed my opinions and didn't like the word tits. I even wonder if he would've banned a male if he did the same thing."
Various CrossFit-hating blogs attempt to explain why CrossFit is so creepy; one recent post on "I Hate CrossFit" describes how one might find him or herself "knee deep in the crossfit cult rabbit hole."
"You have the clothes, the sneakers, the facebook friends, and you have begun speaking this language that only other crossfitters can understand...You drank the Crossfit Koolaid. If you are part of the cult and act like a cult member, take a step back and think about everything that I am saying. It is not too late for you to turn in your douchecard and to start eating cheese again. You can still join a crossfit gym and function in regular society, but it takes practice."
The polemic is obviously hyperbolic, but it's clear that CrossFit isn't for those disinterested in drinking the Koolaid. Or participating in an exercise series called "Tough Titsday."
*Name has been changed.
Update: We mistakenly thought CrossFit South Brooklyn took down the original Tough Titsday blog post. We regret the error.
Update #2: Read CrossFit South Brooklyn's response here.