Social cues, sexism and fitness centers

3 Jul

equinox gym

No, Suffragette Kitty fans, that is not an advertisement for a “Gentleman’s Club” (whatever that is) or a happy-ending massage parlor or the latest date-rape drug.

What you see here is a giant billboard facing the thoroughfares of Bethesda, Maryland, that is – supposedly – encouraging motorists and their passengers to sign up for the local Equinox fitness center.

We know, it did not seem obvious to us, either.

When my publicist and I think of spin classes, yoga or CrossFit, we think of sweat dripping into our eyes, Ace bandages and extra-strength Advil.

Images of long-legged sex kittens in skintight dresses stretching across the top of a billiards table do not come to our minds . (We don’t need Freud to explain the cue stick and balls.)

This billboard does not scream “FITNESS CENTER” to us.

The sexist exploitation is wrong for so many reasons, and we’ll only list a few here. First, does Equinox, voted the best fitness center in America by Fitness Magazine, even offer billiards? The answer is NO. They offer yoga, lifting, spin classes and other such exercise programs to promote optimal physical health. That is all very good. My pub and I are big fans of exercise, and sometimes we actually get some.

The image of the pool table is especially disturbing. Do you know how many women have been violated on those green-felted surfaces? While we don’t have statistics, we assure you it is more than one. Why would any respectable business even hint at a possible correlation?

Another reason is that there is a petition to have the offensive billboard removed. Some protesters complain that it is full sight of the general public, which includes small children. Never mind small children, (we do love kids) how about women like my publicist, and cat bloggers, who are horrified that such an image is allowed to pollute a space that the general public has a right to enjoy? This is as much a hazard as second-hand smoke.

What we need to exercise are our rights. Fellow WordPress blogger is taking the offense on the offensive billiards billboard. She has organized an online petition at

My publicist and I have signed on and we think you should, too.
Go to Sexism Matters blog and you will see my image, not one of me slinking on top a pool table, just one of me with a jingle bell by the fireplace. Very innocent. Join me in “liking” her stance on offensive, belittling, sexist advertisements that exploit the female body.

xo, LMA


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