Amend the Worcester State University Wellness Center Dress Code

Amend the Worcester State University Wellness Center Dress Code

Started
February 3, 2022
Signatures: 512Next Goal: 1,000
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Why this petition matters

Started by Rebecca Lashua

The WSU Wellness Center has a reputation for unjustly reprimanding women for their choice of exercise attire by citing outdated, offensive, and illogical justifications and stereotypes present in their current dress code. When these women are singled-out about their appearance, many report feeling sexualized, objectified, and distressed. Many statements in the dress code documents come from sources that no longer exist, are not peer-reviewed, and are vague, hypocritical generalizations. The code also utilizes scientific facts about disease transmission to defend their claims. These claims are made out to be baseless, as the statements about sweat and bare skin contact tarnishing gym equipment are negated by the unavoidable action of sweating while exercising, shorts, t-shirts, and tank tops existing as permissible gym attire, and the gym policy requiring equipment to be sanitized. Examples of statements found in the dress code documents include:

"'Women, more than men, are terrified of showing skin irregularity typical of subcutaneous fat...Visible subcutaneous fat is a no-no...at the gym, where many people show lots of skin (women with very short shorts, fashionable sports bras, shirtless men) the overweight people can’t. It is an unwritten and unspoken rule, but those who dare to infringe bitterly regret it. If they dare to show more skin on a very hot day, they will be stared at and obviously disapproved.'" (source no longer exists)

“'Athletes should be encouraged to avoid bare skin on shared equipment. They need to create barriers by taking measures such as wearing clothing that covers skin that comes in contact with the equipment, placing towels on weight equipment, and wiping equipment down with an Environmental Protection Agency–approved disinfectant after each use' (Many, 2008, p. 375)"

These reasonings reflect ideologies that are not shared by both men and women that frequent the wellness center. The culture and rhetoric perpetuated by the facility and some staff members is harmful, insulting, and both inadvertently and deliberately sexualizes and objectifies students. The dress code neglects to support widely supported body positivity ideals and contradicts campus policies that promote inclusivity while simultaneously generalizing the thoughts and feelings of all students. These concerns have been addressed multiple times in the past, yet staff continues to ignore the concerns of their students. 

The gym should be a place of empowerment and acceptance. Preserving a culture and dress code that is insensitive and illegitimate forces women to cover their bodies, which not only minimizes their confidence, but also their voices. Sign now to pressure the WSU staff to amend the dress code to better reflect the wishes and feelings of the student population. 

Support now
Signatures: 512Next Goal: 1,000
Support now