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It’s entrapment. I see quite a few clips from gyms on Twitter every day, and often from people who just want to film their muscles or their latest lift—yet there will be people in the background. At a gym, it’s easy to film someone in the background even if you just mean to film yourself—people move about all the time behind you.

There has been a minor online flap for a few weeks about men “approaching” women at the gym and whether such behaviour should or should not be allowed. The entire flap is generated from the female psyche because men don’t generally approach women at the gym—or “perv on them”, or whatever accusations are being made (women are not attractive at the gym—they only go there to seek attractive men, since women go where the “men of power” are).

Due to the fact that men are not hitting on women at the gym or perving on them, women have launched a protest that they are—we’re upset that you’re not doing this, since you are there to exercise, so we will complain that you are because you aren’t. It’s all perfectly clear.

The problem with the above sign—presumably partly created to address the situation—is that it creates a de facto entrapment situation for men. The situation is contrariwise to that described: men don’t go to the gym to check women out—women go to the gym to check men out (women are attractive in lingerie and with perfume, not when they’re sweaty—men are attractive when they’re sweaty).

So what this sign facilitates is that an attractive man might be taking a selfie and a woman who is caught in the background will complain he was “filming her without permission”—a shit-test or flirtation to get his attention. Since not all men are aware this is how women flirt, a proportion will take it literally and attempt to deal with the situation “rationally and respectfully” which will be perceived as weakness and lead to hysteria until said man is banished by the gym authorities under the above rules (the woman having tested his muscly prowess to the extent that other men have come down, ultimately with police sanction, to throw him off the premises).

The solution would be to ban phones from the gym (or sex-segregate gyms, but that is against the law). So why not do that? The gyms can’t ban phones because women love to take selfies everywhere—and that includes the gym. Sure, there are some narcissistic men who photograph themselves in the gym but if phones were banned from the gym even they wouldn’t care that much, whereas for women that would be a dealbreaker and they’d not come back.

LA Fitness, just to judge by the decor, looks like a female-orientated corporate gym (not some back street operation called BOB’S GYM with barbed wire over the top, a grimy door, and “Taekwondo Tuesdays 7pm” stencilled underneath the main sign). So LA Fitness has a femcentric policy that puts all the power in a woman’s hands with a convoluted rule that may well catch some guy out—and may well be intended to do just that. You can tell it’s a bad law because it has so many clauses in it—it could just be a sign that said “No phones”. It isn’t, it’s a trap.

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