UPDATED 3:30 p.m. Tuesday A group this weekend began a petition to get the Equinox gym on Bethesda Row to take down a window photo it says degrades women and shouldn’t be used to advertise a fitness facility.
Sexism Matters, which launched a blog on Friday, wants the New York-based gym to get rid of the image, which shows a woman in a dress, on her knees on top of a pool table holding a pool stick.
The gym (4905 Elm St.) has windows that face Woodmont Avenue, where the photo has been placed. The ad campaign invited controversy from the beginning, when it was introduced early last year.
Sexism Matters says the ad on the outside of the Bethesda gym poses a particular problem for children who walk by the building. The petition is on Change.org:
Our daughters and sons walk by the billboard outside Equinox Gym every day. They see a woman in a degrading sexual position, being “celebrated” for her hypersexualized and supposed dexterity, with a pool cue and balls. This is somehow meant to advertise for a fitness facility.
Our children shouldn’t be subjected to this. Our female friends and family shouldn’t be viewed like this, nor forced to conform to it. Our male partners and colleagues shouldn’t be boxed in to thinking this is normal. This is the kind of not-so-subtle sexism that infects our culture, and degrades an entire gender.
We work out to stay healthy. We go to the gym to become stronger. We celebrate our bodies’ abilities on the track, in the pool, and on the court. We do NOT accept the excuses. We will NOT tolerate this billboard. And, we will NOT be joining your gym. We are all too busy working, running, teaching, living, and laughing to be seen as objects.
Judy Taylor, the vice president of public relations for Equinox said the billboard has been up since January and will come down in mid-July as previously scheduled.