Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Changing rooms

Recently the gym where I work - as a swimming teacher - has been going through a huge refurbishment - all the work is being carried out without the club being closed for a single day - and as part of the renovation the male and female changing rooms are being completely stripped out and replaced.

Last week the refurb of the men's changing room was completed, at which point work immediately began on renovating the women's changing room. Now while the work was carried out in the men's changing room, the men continued to use them, with the work being carried out around them. However, now that the women's changing room is being refurbished, instead of them staying in there while the work is carried out around them, the men have been moved into the cramped, half built women's changing room, while the women have been moved into the men's beautiful, brand new changing rooms. This irked me a little. Why do the men have to be inconvenienced twice? It annoyed me so much that I got up on my high horse and like every good (keyboard) warrior I wrote a Facebook status that went something exactly like this:

"They are renovating the gym I teach at from top to bottom - except for the poolside - and for the last few weeks they have been working on the men's changing room, ripping everything out and replacing it all. New lockers, showers, toilets the lot. It has been a huge inconvenience to all the male members but it's coming to an end and the changing rooms are looking great so it was worth it. Except when the men's changing rooms are completed, the women will be moved into them and the men will occupy the women's changing room while they are ripped out and replaced, inconveniencing the male members all over again. And of course it's not really that big of a deal and men normally get the better end of any deal so who cares, I just need to let it go. Except I do have two problems with this system. 1. It isn't fair and equal. 2. It perpetuates the stereotypes of men and women and their place in our society."

Now maybe you've already noticed the giant flaw in my argument? Something so huge I'm not sure how I missed it but something that I remained completely blind to until someone pointed it out to me. Luckily it was pointed out to me and before I could shoot my mouth off in the real world, like in front of my bosses for example. But I did say something. Obviously I couldn't manage to remain completely silent. Instead I said something to one of my colleagues - "that's a bit unfair that the men have to be inconvenienced again" or something to that effect - and she - very fortunately for me - pointed out the very obvious problem with what I had said. (Almost ) All of the workers carrying out the refurbishment works are men - the whole time the works have been going on I have seen one solitary women working upstairs - and they obviously can't have men working in the changing rooms while the women are getting changed. Like der! Obviously! What was I thinking?

The thing is that sometimes you need to stand up for what you believe is right. In fact I feel very strongly that it is incredibly important that you do. However, sometimes it might be the case that you can't see the forrest for trees. At times like these, hopefully you either manage to put your brain / have your brain put into gear before you speak or possibly even better still, you manage to remain silent on the subject. Luckily - on this one rare occasion - I decided to (mostly) stay quiet and when I did speak, I managed not to embarrass myself too much. Phew! I got away with it, I got the wrong end of the stick so to speak and got a bit uppity about it. However, happily for me, nobody is any the wiser about my little "blonde moment". Well except for "all" of you loyal readers that is.

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