For the Love …

Thank you for wearing clothes!!
Thank you for wearing clothes!!

Why, for the love of all that is holy, do women –of all shapes, sizes, and ages (I’m not discriminating here) — insist on walking around locker rooms buck naked?!

I honestly don’t think in this case my disordered eating history has anything to do with my feelings about public nudity.

I’m not a prude, and I think you know I’m all about promoting positive body image and am personally striving for body confidence … but  c’mon … on a Sunday morning, the last thing I want to see is ABC or XYZ  in all their glory.

Even if SHE is confident in her body (and more power to her!!), why should the rest of us have to see it?

Because let’s be real, there’s no where else to go when you’re jammed into a locker room …

I realize it’s a public space, and people can do what they want, but I do wish women were a little more modest in the gym locker room.

Call me nuts, but I change at the gym after work — in a closed, locked bathroom stall!!

My mom reminded me of a summer years ago when I worked at a camp near my university. We’d bring the kids to the university pool for swimming lessons, and there was this old, bitter, very heavy woman who insisted upon walking around the locker room stark naked, even though it clearly made us counselors and –most importantly — the children very, very uncomfortable. She’d stare us down like, “What are YOU looking at?”

Finally, we asked the university athletic department to speak with her (parents had been complaining, were upset) and she was asked to either robe up, or not be there when the children were. She was not happy, that was for sure … but really, when you’re dealing with small children, there have to be boundaries.

But even now, as an adult in a locker room only full of adults, I still can’t help but wish people would put a towel on, or get changed in a stall for some more privacy.

Do locker rooms make you uncomfortable too? Or do you walk around the locker room baring all?


21 thoughts on “For the Love …

  1. in the pool I used to go to, there are only two bathroom stalls. If women didn’t get changed in the locker room… if they all used the bathroom stall, there’d be a huge jam up waiting for the toilets.

    After a while, you just get used to it… and you start cursing the person who’s in the toilet stall changing when you really have to pee.

  2. Kate, that is a really good point…but we have several stalls at this gym … and I do see how you could be annoyed if someone is changing and you have to go!

  3. I change in the locker room but don’t walk around naked. There are women at my gym who do though, they go from sink, to toilet, to scale, etc just walking around with no towel on (our gym has tons of towels for the taking so that is not an issue) There is a big tv in the locker room and some will just stand buck naked in front of it watching. I find that bizarre.

  4. I used to be bothered by seeing people naked and never considered doing it myself. Now I don’t care any more. I generally cover up as much as possible up to the point of wasting more time putting things on and taking them off. I shower in the morning at the gym before work after my workout, I don’t have room for a giant towel to totally cover up either. I’m naked for the least possibly amount of time but I’m not going to waste my time trying to find a changeroom. We have 2 and only 3 toilet stalls – and at my gym they are not an acceptable place to change.

    Personally, I’m there to work out, I want to get ready and dressed as quickly as possible. I assume everyone there doesn’t want to see or be seen as much as I don’t want to.

    What really bothers me is people who stare at you – regardless of whether I’m naked or half clothed. There are some women that are clearly sizing me up and I want to slap them. There’s this one girl that comes to mind. I would bet my life that she has a disorder so I remind myself of that when I see her staring at me. Otherwise I might snap at her.

    I just try to stare into my locker and get my clothes on as quickly as possible!

    I do admit though that if I’m there with a friend and she’s waiting for me, I change in the stall unless I’m pretty well clothed. I don’t like getting naked in front of friends who don’t know me really well.

  5. I don’t walk around naked and try to be as discreet as possible when changing. After my shower I would put on at least my underthings before leaving the shower stall. I don’t like to look at my own body so I don’t want to look at others either.

    I’m lucky enough now that I can go to the gym and come home for showers. Rarely do I have to take a shower at the gym when I’m going to a meeting directly from there.

  6. I actually think that hyper-modesty in a single sex locker room is pretty weird.

    I don’t walk around naked, but I’m there to get changed and ready for work. I don’t have time to play “change under the towel.”

    I was on swim team in junior high and high school, and our showers didn’t have curtains, so I guess it just seems normal to me. I mean, we all have the same parts.

  7. This is so me! I was pretty prudish growing up…in high school gym class when we had to swim, I ALWAYS showered in my suit and then changed in the stall. It amazed me how girls would walk around naked like it was nothin’ – I wish I were carefree, but we kind of grew up in a modest household. 🙂

  8. I was JUST talking about this same subject with my 12 year-old stepdaughter, who is taking swim class now. I still have bad dreams of sixth grade camp when everyone was required to shower together. Could be because I’m modest (read: prudish), but might also have to do with being a scrawny, self-conscious late bloomer. I’ve tried to pass on a better attitude to her, though, in letting her know that nudity isn’t a big deal and she shouldn’t be ashamed of her curves.

    1. What’s important is that you’re passing that good attitude on to your step-daughter! We shouldn’t be ashamed of our bodies … but I still think some of the women at my gym (and apparently other gyms!) might want to cover up just a smidge 😉

  9. We have two bathroom stalls at the gym, there’s always people waiting, one would not be popular if they changed in there. Personally, I agree with Ellie and Susie, these areas are for changing, and if a person isn’t comfortable with that, they should avoid the locker rooms. I’ve been going to nude beaches since I was 15, so I’m completely indifferent. I don’t walk around naked, but I change at my locker. If a person has a problem with that, it’s their problem, certainly not mine.

    1. Melissa, I think you were a bit unclear, since you mentioned walking around naked and changing outside a stall as if they were equivalent.

      I personally walk around in a towel, because that’s hardly any trouble, but I change in front of my locker and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. I think that’s the way one is expected to change in a single sex locker room without dedicated changing stalls.

      As others have mentioned, for me it’s all about the practicality. Dragging half my stuff to a toilet stall where there is barely any space to turn around and one hook to hang all my clothes on is a big pain. And ick, who wants to change next to a public toilet, standing on the stall floor (even in flip-flops). Plus I have to make that trip back and forth to the stall, and lock and unlock my locker an extra time.

      In summary, I just can’t agree with you on this one. Unless they make it against the rules to change out in the open, I am going to keep on changing at my locker, and if that bothers people, they are going to have to try not to look at me during the 5 second between when the towel comes off and the underwear come on.

  10. Jennifer, I most definitely don’t equate walking in a towel to get changed at your locker with walking around in the complete nude … I am sorry if that wasn’t clear.

  11. Sometimes I wonder if our culture needs less modesty, not more. In Korea there are huge public spas. The “Wet” or bathing areas are separated by gender and nudity is taken for granted.

    They are popping up in US cities and I have been to a few. They have lots of open showers and large hot tubs for soaking. First you shower squeaky clean then soak. It is incredibly freeing to go there. You quickly get used to it and learn just how different normal ordinary bodies really are from what we see in magazines. After a while it feels as natural as wearing clothes.

    Still, I’m just as happy it is segregated by gender. Woman only space is relaxing in a way I don’t feel at nude beaches for example.

    It is very relaxing and sociable. I think the Koreans and ancient Rome were onto something with public baths. They are actually fairly common in other cultures. I almost wonder if women bathing together is something humans were programmed for long ago but have forgotten in modern society. It is almost as if our heightened sense of modesty is not quite healthy, giving insecurities and unrealistic expectations..

  12. Nudity in the locker room doesn’t bother me in the slightest.

    We were required to shower in gym class in middle school and high school, no stalls, just completely out in the open.
    Also, I was on the girls swim-team in high school, and except for one girl, the rest of us always showered in the nude instead of in our swimsuits. That one girl who wore her swimsuit in the shower was teased about it a lot. Not by me, but by several of the girls.

    As for now as an adult. The Y has open showers too. I have no problem showering as I am used to it from school. I don’t bother covering up between the showers and my locker because there doesn’t seem to be any point in it.

    However, I do not stand there naked doing my hair and makeup like many other women do. I always wrap a towel around me when doing those things.

    I’m grateful that my schools allowed/required us to shower in gym class. It helped me adjust to showering and changing in the presence of other females. Also, I think that it was a good thing to see the differences in other girls bodies. I think it’s better for our young girls and teens to see that the female body is nothing to be ashamed of.

    My 14 year old daughters high school does not even allow the students to shower in gym class. My daughter and several of the other girls have asked to be allowed to go into the locker room ten minutes early so that they can shower, but the teacher says that she’s not allowed to dismiss them to the locker room early. My daughter has developed a couple of rashes under her breasts and groin area as a result.

    My daughter has been swimming with me at the y since she was five years old, so she grew up showering around other females. We have also quite often taken my daughters best friend with us, and she is also comfortable showering there. On one occasion we also took one other friend of the girls along with us. She had never been in a locker room where people actually shower, and she was so embarrassed that she showered in her swimsuit and changed in a toilet stall. She never wanted to go back to the Y with us. I think it’s quite sad that she felt so ashamed of her naked body that she felt that she had to hide in a toilet stall to change.

    I’m not saying that anyone should flaunt themselves around the locker room. But I don’t understand why some women feel a need to change in a toilet stall or change under a towel that’s wrapped around them? From my experience, no-one is looking at anyone else anyway.

  13. I had a membership at a health club for two years and there almost none of the women would walk around naked. The health club membership got to be too expensive so I switched over to a YMCA. In the women’s locker room at the Y it’s the total opposite, the bigger majority of women and girls just walk around naked. At the health club it was no more than maybe 5% of women at absolute most that would walk around naked, if even that many? At the Y it is probably more like 70% to 80% of the women and girls that walk around naked.

    The locker room at the Y has five private shower stalls and 20 open showers lined up on a wall. I always try to get a shower stall if possible. If the stalls are full I will brave it and shower in one of the showers that are out in the open.

    It always amazes me when I see a woman or girl walk naked into the open showers when there are one or more stalls available at the time. It’s like they prefer to shower out in the open?!?!

    And then there are women who choose a stall over the open showers, but they still walk to and from the shower stall with their towel in their hand or over one shoulder.

    It doesn’t bother me if women want to do that, it’s their body, not mine. But it amazes me when I see them do that. When I had swimming unit in high school I was one of the girls that would always shower in a swimsuit after swimming. I was in the minority however. A number of high school girls that are on the swim team of a few of the near by high schools tend to practice at the Y a lot. Maybe they’re used to showering with other girls? But the swim team girls are some of the least shy girls you will ever see!

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