I can feel the air on my thighs and a jiggle in my step after I slip into my gym shorts. My cellulite, which rarely sees the light of day, is hanging out for all to see. My thighs rub together and stubble stands on end without the protective sheath of my capris. I am ready to get my workout on.
And I am uncomfortable.
My mind is preoccupied with self-conscious curiosities. Is my summer tan still strong enough to distract from my natural pastiness? How much jiggle do I have going on? Are people as laser-focused on my cellulite as I suspect they are?
The most important question I should be asking myself is: why do I care?
If there is anything the patriarchy has taught us, it’s that women’s bodies are here not for their owners’ autonomous use, but for others’ consumption. This system tells women they had better look flawless and photoshopped before even thinking about exposing their sinful body parts to the world. Our rights to comfort end where onlookers’ expectations of being surrounded by human ornaments begin.
Well, I call b*llshit.
There are already so few spaces out there where women can feel completely comfortable in their own skin, and dammit, the gym should be one of them. Yet, the defensiveness and cynicism we use as tools to face the outside world tend to take root deep within our own self-image, turning our own self-talk into objectifying echoes of society’s harebrained double standards.
Here are a few reasons why we should say “to hell with that noise” and feel okay wearing shorts to the gym.
1. Working out can get hot.
You can find men flitting around the gym in nothing but a pair of breezy board shorts any time of day. If we boil it down to basics, working out increases body temperature and the less clothing coverage we have, the more our sweat can evaporate and cool us down. It’s science, mmkay?
The idea that “women don’t sweat, they glow” is nonsense. Women sweat. Women like to get their pump on. Women appreciate feeling unencumbered by tons of layers when working out. Just like men. When we wear shorts instead of leggings, that is just a smaller item of sticky-sweaty clothing we have to peel off of our bodies later. Let us be comfortable, alright?