Is there anything more terrifying than walking into a gym in order to get a gym-toned body, only to find yourself surrounded by people flaunting their own gym-toned bodies? No, no there is not. Happily, in a move that is practically bursting out of its shirt with multiple Internet-outrage possibilities, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Klotsche Center has implemented a dress code that requires fitness center patrons to wear sleeved shirts while working out. Sleeveless shirts have been banned, it seems, because they’re too “intimidating” to some students who are new to the whole “gym” thing. Or maybe it’s because of skimpy clothing. Or maybe it has to do with preventing the spread of staph infections. Or something.
As reported by UWM’s Media Milwaukee program (and republished by the UWM Post), the “T-shirt rule” has been in effect since the beginning of the fall semester. It requires everyone in Klotsche’s weight and cardio rooms to wear a shirt that “fully covers the back, shoulders, chest, stomach and sides.” That puts an end to sleeveless cut-offs for men, and athletic tops for women. According to Klotsche fitness program director Sara Luelloff:
“The policy started when we started getting complaints from people about the cut-offs people were wearing in the fitness center where the upper body, torso, and chest was exposed and that can create intimidation for a lot of people who are new to working out.”
The Media Milwaukee story notes that students are divided on the new dress code, as well as the reasons for the new dress code. One student is quoted as saying that she should be able to “wear whatever I want without being sexualized.” Later, the story speculates that a staph infection known as MRSA—which is spread by skin-to-skin contact—is the culprit. But in the end, it seems that “intimidation” is the real reason for the dress code, with officials saying the change was “necessary for a ‘welcoming’ and ‘inclusive’ environment on a diverse campus.”
So, choose your outrage, Internet: If this becomes a conversation about sexualized clothing, turn to The Huffington Post. If this becomes a conversation about privilege, power, and/or gender, turn to Jezebel. If this becomes a conversation about political correctness run amok, turn to the comments section of the Journal Sentinel. If this becomes a conversation about “men’s rights” after some dolt makes a comment about how totally ripped dudes are being discriminated against, turn to Reddit.