As a female, I can say that in my life I have noticed that gender stereotypes have been imbedded into the fibers of our society. We have been programmed to believe that women are the caretakers and men the protectors. Although these controversial boundaries have played a big role in how we are raised, more and more women strive to break down the unfair stereotypes in their own lives.With the 2018-2019 school year now in full swing, coach Tully Chapman, the strength and conditioning coach as well as the fitness center manager, looks to help Grandville High School girls get past the generalized stereotype that girls can’t lift weights.
Coach Tully has implemented a female-only strength and conditioning class in hopes to bring out more females to the weight room. “The first week we had about 5 to 6 girls in each of the two sessions that were held. That is pretty small compared to other co-ed classes we have, but that was only the first week” Chapman explains. “I’d like the class to grow much bigger, maybe 40 to 50 girls at each session. My hope for this class is to show young ladies how strong their body is. A lot of women go through their lives without knowing how strong they can be, but I would like to start to change that.”
Last school year, Coach Tully sent out a survey to the female students at GHS. The survey came back with overwhelming support from the girls. Due to the response, he knew that the class was something that the females of GHS needed.
Although the majority of the responses from the survey were very positive, some female students believed the class would hinder the movement of gender equality. Some of the students agreed with the criticisms of the class. 11th grader, Sydney Spicuzza, who regularly attends co-ed lifting classes says,”Being around the guys during lifting pushes me to go up in weight when I usually wouldn’t have otherwise.”
While some female students would rather lift with male students, others feel more comfortable being around just girls. Raquel Saldivar, an 11th grade tennis player, was one to support the new class. “I just wanted to start working out and exercising more and this was the perfect opportunity because I am not in a sport right now. The class was for anyone, even if you don’t play a sport, so I just decided to go,” explains Saldivar. “The class was pretty much the same as other classes I have been to, but I did feel more comfortable being around just girls. I was happy to see that the exercises we did weren’t any different than the co-ed classes, just because we are girls.”
Coach Chapman has high hopes for this new class. “I’m excited for what’s to come and for the girls to step out of their comfort zones through lifting” expresses Chapman.
The all-female strength and conditioning classes are on Monday and Wednesday nights, from 6:00 to 7:00. This class welcomes all girls, whether they participate in sports or not. Girls, you do not have to sign up before you go, you can show up at the session and check in with Coach Tully.