Health

Gym Shames a Women's Body Type

August 16th 2016

By:
Laura Donovan

As if society doesn't already induce enough body-related stress in women, a Gold's Gym franchise now wants ladies to worry about looking like fruit.

Specifically, a Gold's Gym franchise in Egypt shared a photo on Friday of a pear alongside the words, "This is no shape for a girl."

Gold's Gym Dreamland

While there was no further context shared alongside the meme, it seemed like an obvious reference to "pear-shaped" women, who carry weight in their hips and buttocks, as opposed to in their torso.

Women of (presumably) all shapes and sizes fired back in the comments section.

Facebook

For starters, the meme seems to be confused about pear-shaped bodies.

Research has shown that pear-shaped bodies are associated with greater levels of fertility. And, according to the Mayo Clinic, it is also believed that having a pear-shaped body "doesn't increase your risk of diabetes, heart disease and other complications of metabolic syndrome."

A 2015 study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that adults with a pear-shape were less likely to die than their apple-shaped counterparts with a similar body mass index (BMI).

"Even at BMIs above 30, where obesity begins, men and women whose waist-to-hip ratio identified them as more pear-shaped were less likely to die — of any cause and of cardiovascular causes — than those with similar BMIs who were apple-shaped," LA Times reporter Melissa Healy wrote of the study.

The gym eventually apologized.

Gold's Gym Dreamland

But the apology seemed to miss the point.

Rather than acknowledging that nobody should be policing women's bodies, the Gold's Gym Dreamland Facebook account moderator tried to draw a distinction between critiquing a women's body "structure" and advocating for a "less fats body."

That's a distinction with out a difference, though.

A Facebook user named Erin Matson reposted the photo to share her experiences with eating disorders and explain how harmful a message like this can be to women with body image issues.

 

 

"I am remembering when I was lucky to be in the hospital because anorexia hadn't killed me yet," Watson wrote. "My pulse was 32 when I was admitted. Medically, it's a miracle I am alive. I remember exactly where I was in my hospital room as I cried and told a nurse that I was pear-shaped, when in all reality, I was nothing-shaped. She agreed with me that my hip bones flare out — and that was definitely in my most emaciated and corpse-like state."

The bigger issue here, then, isn't which body type is superior. It's that women and men should be given the freedom to feel comfortable inside their own bodies, rather being forced to aspire toward arbitrary standards.