Hi. I took a class tonight with a substitute instructor. Throughout the class, the instructor made multiple references to gender with the implication being that women are excusably weak and men are intrinsically strong. For example, the person said, "Ladies, at any time feel free to go your knees in a push up. Gents, if YOU go to your knees, I'll smack you upside the head."
It may sound funny but these micro expressions of sexism - women are inherently weaker, weakness isn't to be tolerated from men, etc. - not only create an atmosphere in which women are not pushed to perform at their peak but quietly foster a general attitude that men are better and more fit just by virtue of being men, which is ridiculous. Many men tonight were being well out performed by women in the class, for example. I doubt the instructor meant to be sexist and the person was otherwise a fine instructor, however, the repeated comments bothered me. These kind of small but consistent gender based comments that all focus on women being the weaker sex. Both female and male instructors make the comments. I should note that the vast majority of instructors I know are awesome and definitely not sexist, but there are a few.
I would love it if you brought the issue up generally at your next staff mtg if you agree it's something important because most people probably don't even realize they're doing it; it's so ingrained in them and discussion helps people to recognize issues with their own behavior.
I think it's a gym instructor's job to push everyone to excel to the best of their abilities, regardless of gender. Gender should not be used as an excuse to give someone more credit than they deserve or as an excuse for failure to perform. Do you agree?
Thanks for reading and have a great night.