'Spaces like this are 100% necessary': Viral TikTok praising women's gym prompts 'segregation' debate

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(Image via Heather Huesman /Instagram/TikTok)
(Image via Heather Huesman /Instagram/TikTok)

A women's only gym in Kansas has gone viral on TikTok after a user praised the establishment's commitment to making clients feel safe. 

In April, Heather Huesman, took to TikTok to share a positive review of Blush Fitness, a women's only gym in Overland, Kan. In her now viral video, the 23-year-old took viewers through the gym's COVID-19 safety measures and all of the ways the facility caters to making women feel more comfortable- including tinted windows, restricted access for those who don't have a key, and free feminine products. The gym also gives advance notice to all members whenever male staff members will be in the building. 

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"The best gym! We need these everywhere, we feel so safe and comfortable going to the gym, gonna be my new favourite spot!," Huesman captioned the video which has received more than 5.7 million views. 

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Huesman's TikTok was met with agreement from countless women who have struggled to feel comfortable at co-ed gyms.

"I would feel so much safer using a machine wrong because I'm a beginner," one person commented. "I would feel way less judged and more comfortable to ask for help."

"I wish all places warned us when there will be men in the building," one person said.

Photo via @heatherhuesman TikTok
Photo via @heatherhuesman TikTok

"Yes, men. We would love it if you had a male-only gym and we had a female-only gym," someone wrote. No complaints here."

"Until men can learn how to be respectful and not make women feel uncomfortable or unsafe, spaces like this are 100% necessary," commented another.

While many confidently praised the idea of a women's only fitness centre, Huesman's video ultimately sparked a debate about whether or not it's discriminatory toward men.

"This doesn't sound like equality," someone wrote. "I swear we're going backwards in time."

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"Didn't we end segregation 60 years ago?" echoed another. 

"This is a discrimination lawsuit waiting to happen," another male viewer wrote. "Thought y'all wanted equality but this is sexism." 

The negative reaction from some male viewers prompted women to remind men why women feel as though they need a safe space in the first place. 

"It's actually so sad that men don't understand why we need this," one user wrote. "Which explains why we need it even more, honestly."

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"Did men forget they can just go to their regular gym?" someone else question, while another added, "to the men that are mad: You made this happen."

In an interview with Buzzfeed, Huesman shared the upsides to being a member at a women's only gym. 

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"I decided to share my experience because ever since the first time I went into Blush, I felt a sense of relief. It felt like a breath of fresh air walking into a gym with no men," she said

Huesman said she no longer feels worried that male gym-goers are leering or giving her unwanted attention. 

"I definitely feel safer in an all-women’s gym. I personally like to wear tight clothing because it is easier to work out in, and I don’t have to worry about men taking photos of me without my permission, or worry about men making me feel uncomfortable while I’m there," she continued. "There are also not so many people there that all the racks are being taken up. The place is very clean and has great energy and vibes to it!"

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