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Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

The WREC needs to work out the dress code


The Wildcat Recreation Center is a place where students are supposed to feel comfortable with their bodies, as they rock their workout, but seems that more students are left feeling embarrassed.

Multiple people have been asked to leave the WREC because of their clothing choices, the majority of which are women.

The Associated Students have the WREC member handbook posted online for students who don’t know what the dress code is. It’s stated in the handbook that to access the facility students and faculty need to cover up, specifically the midsection area.

The current rules and their enforcement seem bias, particularly in the way female students should be dressed.

Last semester, a friend of mine was called to the front desk and asked to leave because her shirt revealed a sliver of skin when she raised her arms.

Another girl wearing a one piece racing swimsuit with a pair of athletic shorts on top was given a warning while was heading to the pool area. She was told if she didn’t wear a shirt over her one-piece swimsuit her access into the facility would be revoked until the proper attire was acquired.

According to the handbook, the dress code is enforced for hygiene purposes as well as prolonging the life of the equipment. With all the foot traffic that the WREC has, it can be assumed that a lot of bodies are sharing the equipment.

It can also be assumed that not everybody remembers to wipe down their machines after use, leaving residual sweat that any sane person would want to protect themselves from by wearing clothing that is comfortable and protective.

However, there are cases when a person just can’t take all the precautions.

Maybe it’s 100 degrees outside, as the later summer and early fall months in Chico are known to be. Maybe they were running late and only had their speedo or a tank top that fits a little more snug than it used to? Should these students be denied the ability to get their workouts in for an offense like showing a little extra skin? Do they need to be approached mid workout and asked to leave?

Dress codes exist to protect the integrity of the establishment. Workplaces and schools all have their own guidelines to perpetuate a certain reputation. The WREC is, after all, a part of the school.

So it makes sense that the female students would appear to be under more scrutiny than their male peers to cover up. It’s a tale as old as time. Women shouldn’t show off their bodies. It’s indecent for women to show as much skin as men and because female anatomy has been so hyper-sexualized, an exposed torso can be considered a facet of promiscuity.

Funny enough, in the same facility, a dozen or so beefy bros are walking around in extreme muscle tanks at any given moment. By definition, these “shirts” consist of maybe two or three square feet of fabric draping loosely over the abdomen, but the arm holes are large enough to question its identity as an actual piece of clothing.

Short spandex shorts are another culprit. They don’t create a very good barrier between skin and equipment. According to the gyms reasoning for covering up, shouldn’t attire like this also be scrutinized?

The dress code imposed by the WREC is unclear in its intentions. If they don’t want female members to dress in ways that are comfortable while they workout because it might be a distraction to others, the rules need to be clearer. Until then, it will be another story narrating the reality of gender discrimination in our institutions.

Lorinda Sasan can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_news on Twitter.

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