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‘Watch this creep’: the women exposing gym harassment on TikTok | Fitness

Women have long been hyper-vigilant about unwanted male attention at the gym. But before smartphones, the sense they were being stared at was more of a feeling than a certainty.

Now catching perceived offenders in action has become its own sport on TikTok, with women covertly leaving their phones on record and then watching the resulting video to see who was staring at their behind while they were doing squats.

On the app, the pitiless hashtag “gym weirdos” has over 1.9m views, with videos showing men attempting to flirt with or pick up women who just want to get through their sets unbothered.

Gina Love is one such TikTok detective. She goes to the gym at least four times a week, because the endorphin boost that comes from a good deadlift counteracts the daily stress of life.

“Watch this creep come over to my personal bubble while doing [Romanian deadlifts],” Love wrote in the caption of an encounter she posted on TikTok, which was liked over 50,000 times. “The gym was practically empty, and so many corners to be in and he chose this one.” In the clip, the man stands directly behind Love as she lifts dumbbells before deciding to leave.

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“I would say I experience creeps 15% of the times I work out,” Love, who is 29 and lives in Atlanta, told the Guardian. This usually manifests as a man staring at her for an “uncomfortably long” amount of time. “It’s almost like they’re trying to undress you in their heads,” Love said.

Some might say inappropriate looks or creepy comments are as much of a feature in the gym for women as broken workout equipment or crowds. One study from 2021 found that 76% of women feel uncomfortable exercising in public due to harassment. In another survey from Run Repeat, 56% of women reported facing harassment during their workouts.

Love sometimes leaves the gym when the staring is too much. “It makes me feel disgusted, anxious, and my survival…


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