Toxic Masculinity in the Westtown Gym

A safe space for all?

Toxic Masculinity in the Westtown Gym

Avery Allison '23, Editor


At Westtown, some female-identifying athletes feel as though they can’t safely use the gym. During the 2021-2022 school year, female athletes expressed discomfort which they felt in the gym while in the presence of male-identifying athletes. Not only did female athletes comment on this, but a male athlete described the same feeling; he too would be uncomfortable in the gym if he was a female. 

While talking to athletes who use the gym regularly, students expressed the discomfort of the male-dominated gym environment. 

“The only time I’ve felt comfortable in the gym is when I did strength and conditioning and they kicked everyone else out. It feels like a lot of guys in there (Westtown gym) are disrespectful and forget that it’s a shared space. They blast music and don’t wipe down the machines when they’re done with them.” said Savannah Peishl ’23.

Peishl is not the only person who has expressed this. While talking with Bea Saenger ’23, Cat Lefevbre ’23, Sydney Kostal ’23, Kate Erickson ’23, and Sophia Bradley ’23, on W3, they shared similar feelings.

Westtown gym is “Not marketed for women. It’s not a female-friendly space nor is it inviting. I constantly feel judged, exposed, unsafe, scared, and uncomfortable.” Kostal said. “No one should feel this way, especially when they are already outside of their comfort zone.”

Jake Diaz ’22, also describes how he feels in the gym. “I think it’s a little disrespectful how some of the boys act in the gym. I have seen some take off their shirts and pose in the mirror. I don’t feel uncomfortable, but I could understand why a female would be intimidated and feel that way. I think that the reason I don’t see many females in the gym is because of the toxicity within the gym,” said Diaz.

There is not one specific solution to this problem, but women at Westtown are calling for recognition and response.