Box Magazine ran a pretty sexist column on their website today called, “BE A BOX BABE, NOT A BARBIE: THE TOP 9 CROSSFIT FEMALE FAUX PAS,” which is probably nothing more than click-bait and I feel for it, but pretty much everything about it bothered me so… Let’s break this down…
#1. I understand, author person, you’d rather see women focusing on their fitness than their makeup, but is it your place to judge why a woman has come to your box with makeup on? Can you really tell the difference between a woman who is coming into your affiliate after a day at the office and a woman who put on makeup to work out? Also: why does this matter at all if she’s pushing herself as hard as she can in the box?
#2. Perfectly Paired Outfit? So… let’s just ban all Lulu? What about all the matching gear I - a guy - own from Reebok Training, CrossFit's corporate partner? Does it really bother you that a woman will pick out a blue Lulu tank top that matches her blue oly shoes? Maybe feeling good about the clothes your athletes (of either gender) have on make them feel better about themselves and help them push a little harder to hit that PR back squat. Also: why does this matter if she (or he) is pushing herself as hard as she can in the box?
#3. You are not a hair stylist. Your are a CrossFit Affiliate owner. Do not give out advice on anyone’s hair style. If an athlete of yours chooses to fix their hair, that’s between them and their hair. Also: why does this matter at all if she (or he) is pushing herself as hard as she can in the box?
#4. Many CrossFit boxes encourage their athletes to follow the Paleo diet, Whole 30, Zone, etc. There are plenty of discussions as to the best ways to follow these diets. Some diets encourage people to weigh their food, some deal with portion size. Our community gets judged enough for what we do and do not eat. Let’s focus on positive reenforcement to improve an athlete’s diet… and if someone want’s to have a treat, let’s not judge them for that.
#5. Gossip. Really? I mean… really? CrossFit Boxes often feel like high school. You’ve got a core group of athletes who’ve been around since the box opened, maybe some of them even trained together at a previous affiliate before coming to your box. Some office buddies all train together, couples like to train together. Young mothers and dog lovers all tend to (easily) find each other in the box. Rather than laying out some petty dictum like “no giddy gossip,” why not ask your most talkative members to reach out to new members, to the quiet ones, to the ones who tend to shy off into the corners to do their dead lifts. Gossip will always be part of a community, put your energy behind turning those (male and female) who gossip into a positive part of your community.
#6. Tanning… I think most people would agree that laying in a tanning bed can be hazardous for your health. Do us all a favor and address this in a way that doesn’t suggest it’s an issue that affects “Barbies.”
#7. Stretching is pretty seductive as it is, and when you throw men and women in a room together to train at high intensity intervals, there’s going to be some looking. I’m pretty sure guys can flex and stretch just as seductively as women. Also: why does this matter at all if she (or he) is getting the right results from the stretch? It’s one thing to do a stretch wrong, that’s a legitimate issue that all coaches face regardless of the athlete’s gender. Let’s focus on putting the right kind of positive emphasis on stretching. Double also: this directly implies that women who stretch (seductively or not) are reasonable for the thoughts of the men (or women) who stair at them. It’s not. If you have issues with men (or women) inappropriately staring at other athletes, you should address it with those being inappropriate directly, not the athletes their objectifying. Thanks!
#8. Sinister stares… is not something I’ve ever experienced in any CrossFit affiliate I’ve been too so I don’t have a lot to go on here. However, as mentioned above, CrossFit communities can feel a lot like high school, and it falls on the affiliate owners (and coaches and high profile members) to continuously positively take the lead in supporting their members. Maybe “ass slapping” isn’t always the way to do it, but do feel free to hang out when you’re down your workout to cheer on that guy or girl whose still has 20 reps of 24” box jumps left to do.
#9 Here’s one we almost agree on: avoid doing any actual work, but here’s where I think you get this wrong. As an affiliate owner, it falls to you to find coaches who will use positive reenforcement to get your athletes to preform at their best. Using shame - like this article - to get your athletes to pick up the bar, or find that one last rep, typically isn’t going to work and you’ll find yourself losing members.
Finally… If Barbie wants to drop into a box for a WOD, shouldn’t we encourage her? Aren’t we - as the CrossFit Community - welcoming of everyone? Also, just because Barbie isn’t an anatomically correct body image for women, does that mean she should be shunned because of her body type?
Here’s what I think you really wanted to say: I don’t care what you look like, where you’ve come from, what your body type is, or what you do for a living; as long as you give it everything you can every time you walk into my affiliate, we’re going to have a great time training together.