Gender Barriers For Women 's Weight Lifting Essay

Gender Barriers For Women 's Weight Lifting Essay

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Through various studies, Assistant Psychology Professor at Amherst College, Jessica Salvatore, and Professor of Women’s Psychology at Swarthmore College, Jeanne Marecek explore the reasons behind gender barriers in the gym, in an article entitled “Gender in the Gym: Evaluation Concerns as Barriers to Women’s Weight Lifting.” Although strength training proves to enhance mood, strengthen the immune system, and prevent osteoporosis, they’ve observed a lack of women in the weight room. Salvatore and Marecek believe women avoid this benefit due to evaluation concerns, which they define as “people’s interest in what others think of them” (Salvatore, Marecek 557). In the past, psychologists have studied similar topics concerning the pressure women receive to conform-- claiming women receive more pressure than men. Alternately, Salvatore and Marecek recognize, analyze, and briefly pose solutions for both men and women who face evaluation concerns in the gym attributable to certain experiences.
They further explore gender barriers of the gym through four elaborate studies. Study 1 seeks evidence if cultural norm affects fitness goals depending on gender. Over the course of 2007 to 2010, researchers did a Google image search of “burn fat” and “build muscle”. Every year, men were more represented than women building muscle, vice versa. Study 2 focuses on how women feel when peers are observing them on cardio machines versus weight machines. Study 3a expounds on Study 2. Through survey, women commonly reported they used the gym less frequently because they were less emotionally comfortable due to lack of proficiency. Study 3b asks for women and men to rate comfortableness in the gym and discuss their most uncomfortable moment. Women repor...


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... different cultures, inside and outside of the United States, do females view strength differently? The thin female body is not a universal standard.
Feminists and social psychologists, Jessica Salvatore and Jeanne Marecek aim to create awareness of strength training’s benefits and prove women strength train less because of what others will think of them. Their experiments were elaborate, nevertheless, at fault. They included men, considered evaluation concerns as a stable trait, performed long-term research, but the research was too narrow. By claiming body ideals are based on cultural background, it is assumed they would explore different backgrounds, but they only honed in on white women attending co-ed colleges. Additionally, their suggested solutions were underdeveloped. Still, Salvatore and Marecek prove that evaluation concerns can hinder one from progress.

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