Until pretty recently, it would be uncommon to see women lifting heavy weights in most gyms. But the rise of the gym culture has resulted in many more women working on their PRs, squatting and deadlifting, etc. This is wonderful to see, as there are endless benefits to strength training and exercising regularly. However, there have been more and more videos on TikTok showing women secretly filming themselves at the gym just so they can show a random man in the background who is supposedly staring at them. It has become a toxic trend that sparks a conversation of whether women are preyed upon in the gym or if they are simply asking for attention with they act and dress. A TikToker named Jessica decided to film herself doing hip thrusts at the gym one day in order to capture a man behind her who she claimed was making her uncomfortable. But after sharing the whole video online, she didn't exactly get the response she was hoping for.
Viral TikTok Shows Woman Getting Upset About "Feral" Man Glancing at Her in the Gym, But Many Accuse Her of Seeking Attention
On TikTok, @Jessica49 has 624,000 followers and has accrued almost 45 million likes on her posts. She posts snippets of her life, such as working out in the gym, putting on makeup, and trying new types of food. On Friday, she posted a TikTok in which she was setting herself up for hip thrusts in a gym. There's a man standing behind her in a green t-shirt who seems to be doing his own workout, but she claims that he is staring at her and making her feel uncomfortable.
"This is how to not approach girls at the gym," she writes as the title to the video.
"I hate this. I hate when there's weirdos, gets me so uncomfortable," she whispers into the microphone she's clipping to her sports bra as she's setting up her barbell. "Feral, feral, feral, feral, like f*cking feral." She creates a "stare counter" at the top left of her screen to supposedly keep track of how many times the man glances over at her. She also writes in the video that she is "contemplating screaming bloody murder to make him go away."
But as you watch the video, it's difficult to even tell what the guy is looking at, and if he did look in her direction, it was only for a split second. Nevertheless, Jessica claims that he was being rude and predatory.
"this guy kept making me extremely uncomfortable at the gym… this is why I’ll end up crying on stream bc I feel so grossed out at times with the amount of sexualization I experience. Hopefully this spreads awareness for girls who experience this type of treatment at the gym," she tweeted when she shared the video on Twitter. The video quickly went viral and sparked a conversation about why women do things like this in the gym.
Many people commented on the video and quote-tweeted the video, showing a different side to the situation: she was only doing this for attention, and doesn't it seem odd that she's filming herself working out for hundreds of thousands of followers on TikTok but she is suddenly deeply upset that one person glances over at her while she's working out? The criticism was coming so quickly that Jessica turned off the comments on her thread. Countless Twitter users pointed out how Jessica is the problem in this situation, not the man standing behind her, suggesting that the guy was actually trying to help her out with the heavy plates rather than preying on her.
The Rise of Toxic Femininity on Social Media
There were a few things that people couldn't help but notice about Jessica's story. First of all, she's wearing very little clothing in a public gym. Despite how much our culture tries to tell us that what a woman wears doesn't matter at all and shouldn't invite any unwanted advances from men, the truth of the matter is, if a woman is wearing revealing, skimpy clothing in public, men are going to notice. That's just how it works.
Jessica added a few tweets to her thread claiming that she is constantly harassed online because she's an attractive woman who men can't stop looking at. "I can see how this makes me look like I have an inflated ego but I am an attractive girl in a beauty standard sense and I get extremely sexually harassed online and it makes trusting random strangers that approach me trigger my trauma which is why I respond this way," she tweeted. "I am also extremely antisocial and being hit on is never a compliment to me I don’t like to be approached I haven’t dated for a year because I despise being sexualized. It happens anyway and I get frustrated. It’s normal for girls to feel this way because it happens OFTEN?"
Considering the fact that she routinely shows her body on social media for people to see, it's difficult to accept the fact that she's this awkward person who doesn't like attention, especially sexualized attention. Many people pointed out the fact that Jessica charges people $9.99 a month to see more photos of her on Fanhouse. And these pictures are even more revealing than what she puts on TikTok.
How can a woman claim to be "get extremely sexually harassed online" while she simultaneously posts sexual pictures of herself for men to gawk at? These are just the photos on the public fanwall; we don't even know what she posts on her private feed. It's also worth mentioning that she has an OnlyFans account.
Moments like this that go viral just confirm how much social media has fueled the rise of toxic femininity. Toxically feminine women are incredibly vain and are under the impression that all men want to approach them and date them. They act like the perpetual victim without taking any personal responsibility for their own actions. They expect the entire world to cater to them, their traumas, and their delicate needs. Toxic femininity has only grown more and more because women are given a large audience to display all of these qualities to, and they're rewarded for it with clicks and likes and followers.
If a man has a problem with another man, at worst the two of them will fight it out and punch each other. Perhaps this could be categorized as toxic masculinity. But when a woman is scorned, toxic femininity can result in her going for the jugular and attempting to ruin that person's life. It's not hyperbole to say that videos like this from women with toxic femininity are meant to humiliate the man in question and even ruin his life (in this era, men have been canceled and had their life ruined for much less).
A woman who is truly uncomfortable with a man staring at her in the gym wouldn't video tape it and put it on TikTok for everyone to see. She would remove herself from the environment, speak to the manager about feeling harassed, and do everything she could to get far away from the man in question. But toxic femininity doesn't work like that, and unfortunately social media platforms like TikTok reward these women for acting out in petulant ways.