Gym Bros and Cardio Bunnies--Constructing Gender, Body and Identity in the Gym Winter 2022

Cross-listed WGSS 10 / COMP 10
This is not the current course catalog

Class Details

While it may not be written on the campus map, it’s common Williams knowledge that the gym on upper Lasell is called “the EstroGym.” Have you ever wondered why cardio spaces, like the EstroGym, are designated as feminine while weight rooms (think Lower Lasell) seem to be filled with men? We will explore the answers to this and other questions in this hybrid physical and academic course. Half of this course will be a critical exploration of phenomena often taken for granted within the fitness industry. We will discuss the ways in which cultural understandings of gender and bodies are created and reinforced in physical activity spaces. Topics will include gender policing, whiteness and white supremacy in sport and fitness, trans and gender non-conforming athletes, masculinity and violence in athletics, and the social construction of gender. Much of our reading will be grounded in feminist and sociological theory but will also include text and visual sources from CrossFit gyms, weightlifting competitions, bodybuilding shows, and more. The other half of this course will be taught in the weight room, where students will learn how to strength train. It is a suitable introduction for novice lifters as well as an opportunity for experienced lifters to refine their technique. Students will explore the differences between powerlifting, Olympic weightlifting, and bodybuilding and will have the opportunity to practice these different forms. Outside of class meeting times, students will be expected to complete readings, brief writing assignments, gym observations, short film viewings, and gym selfies (seriously). Depending on class size and logistics, we may take 1-2 field trips to other local gyms. **NOTE: This course is open to students with any type of lifting experience (from zero physical activity background to Olympic athlete). This includes students with any form of disability, so long as they are cleared by a licensed medical provider.
The Class: Format: lecture
Limit: 14
Grading: pass/fail only
Requirements/Evaluation: short paper and final project or presentation
Prerequisites: none--open to those with any type of lifting experience (no experience to Olympic athlete), including students with any form of disability as long as they are cleared by a licensed medical provider
Enrollment Preferences: students will write a paragraph explaining why they want to take the course
Unit Notes: Holly Crane is a competitive weightlifter, personal trainer, strength coach, and educator. She received a BA in Comparative Literature from Williams and an MS in Kinesiology from the University of Minnesota. Her graduate research focused primarily on gender in the gym. She is committed to creating inclusive gym spaces and providing access to strength for those who are frequently overlooked within the fitness industry.
Materials/Lab Fee: none
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
Attributes: EXPE Experiential Education Courses

Class Grid

Course Catalog Archive Search



Start Time
End Time