I violated the dress code at 404 Lafayette gym by wearing a sports bra
If someone can tell me how wearing a sports bra is equivalent to being topless that would be great
Last week, I was in the middle of my routine workout at 404 Lafayette when I was interrupted for violating a questionable rule at the gym. While finishing a damn good set of tricep curls, a very uncomfortable student worker notified me that my outfit — a sports bra and matching leggings — were against NYU's no shirt policies.
I agree with the gym's law. Everyone should wear shirts to the gym. But, I wasn't topless — I was wearing a sports bra.
Naturally, I was peeved. I tried to brush it off but couldn't come up with an explanation that could possibly justify the violation. So, I approached the student worker —I"ll call her Lucy— to settle things.
Lucy and I talked and talked. Apparently, wearing a sports bra is a safety risk and a matter of sanitation. She told me she didn't want to call me out in the first place —explaining her original discomfort — but was pressured to by her supervisor.
I understand the concept of safety risks, but how does a sports bra fall under that? It could be unsafe to workout in anything that doesn't cover every part of your body. I mean, it's like saying we should ban everything that's not remotely armor like.
Oh and don't get me started on sanitation…but I will, because I'm still mad. People sweat. It's unavoidable. A sports bra is no different from a tank top. Clothing doesn't stop heaping amounts of sweat from dripping onto equipment.
Lucy told me that the gym is much more lenient on men in overly exposed tank tops than women in sports bras. Seriously? I didn't expect something so sexist from my liberal university.
I smelled something fishy going on, so I did some digging and found the official 404 Lafayette dress code.
I'll break that tiny text down for you.
"Shirts are required at all times in 404 and Palladium."
So I can't wear a sports bra to the gym, but a dude is allowed to wear this pathetic excuse for a t-shirt?
Seriously? In what world does that gym bro tank pass as a t-shirt more than my sports bra? Men can dress even more scantily than women, but do you see them being dress coded as frequently?
"Shoes worn directly in from the street are not allowed in any activity surface."
I'm pretty sure most people wear their gym sneakers in from the streets, yet that rule isn't enforced. If you've been given a warning for doing this, please let me know because I'm confident this rule is as bullshit as the fact that I can't wear a sports bra.
"Apparel or shoes that hinder safety or are deemed by the Department of Athletics to be potentially damaging to the facilities or equipment are not permitted."
I think we can all agree that sports bras don't pose a threat to the facility. The only thing damaging to equipment is careless people, but you can't ban everyone you suspect to be careless.
Sports bras are a gym staple frequented at Equinox, Planet Fitness, NYSC and Retro Fitness — the list goes on. If anything, sports bras keep my chest and my body cool while I'm sweating my ass off.
As a social media freak, I shared my outrage on Facebook. This led to people messaging me about their own experiences with the gyms at NYU.
Back in late, sweltering August, NYU student Bri (I changed her name to preserve her anonymity) said she was berated for wearing a Calvin Klein sports bra with high waisted leggings.
"There was only I think a strip of my skin showing. Not even my belly button!" Bri said. "I felt very embarrassed, like I had done something wrong."
Women should be allowed to wear sports bras to the gym without a second layer if they so choose. Lucy told me that most of the students who work at NYU gyms think the policy is dumb. If enough people complain, the rule could be changed.
Friends, if you have a bone to pick like me, don't sit around sulking—get vocal! Call 404 Lafayette at 212-998-2020.
Here's hoping that NYU can stop being scared of female belly buttons and every single inch of the damn female body.
If you've experienced sexism at NYU and want to share your story, email The Tab – NYU editor Edie Freedman at [email protected].