Two Rhode Island School of Design students were kicked out of Brown University’s gym for wearing midriff-baring gear, and now they’re insisting that the dress code is sexist — even though the rules are exactly the same for men as they are for women.
RISD student Elizabeth Dimitroff claims that she was told to either cover herself or leave while she was working out at Brown’s Nelson Fitness Center in a “sports bra with high-waisted leggings” last spring, according to the Brown Daily Herald. And another RISD student, Chloe Karayiannis, said that an employee at the gym told her that her bare stomach might make other people at the gym uncomfortable while she was working out there over winter break.
“We don’t want anybody to feel that this is targeted at them,” Bishoff said. “These rules apply to all genders, all ages, all populations.”
That’s right: According to Bishoff, the reason behind the rules is not to maximize the power of the patriarchy, but to minimize the amount of sweaty, germ-covered skin that will be touching the equipment. Still, both Dimitroff and Karayiannis insist that — gender-neutral or not — the rules are clearly rooted in a misogynistic desire to police women’s bodies
But here’s the thing, Karayiannis — it actually does matter “whether or not it applies to men as well.” The definition of “discriminatory” is “making or showing an unfair or prejudicial distinction between different categories of people,” therefore, a policy that shows no distinction between categories would not qualify. In fact, it would be the opposite.