story | Michelle Lee, Staff Writer
photo | Michelle Lee
On January 29, Paul Jerusalem ’19 made a post on the Yale-NUS College Community Facebook group calling for a ‘Pink Hour’ that welcomes ‘whoever is interested in a pink space’ at the gym. Despite the good intentions behind the post, it did not go without backlash, with many students replying to Jerusalem’s post with opposing views.
Starting from March 7, 5pm to 6pm daily is officially Pink Hour at the gym.
According to the Pink Hour poster in the Yale-NUS College Community Facebook group, Pink Hour is an initiative aimed at making the gym a more inclusive space for those who feel uncomfortable with hypermasculine behavior. The Facebook post called for gym visitors to be more mindful of their behaviour, citing ‘loud grunting’ and ‘the slamming of weights’ as examples of behaviour people might find off-putting. While Pink Hour is open to people of all sexual orientations and gender identities, it is an experiment to subvert the way that hypermasculinity is commonly associated with the gym.
Senior Manager Andy Loe and Executive Subhas Nair from Athletics and Recreation are dedicated to the continued support of student-led initiatives, such as Pink Hour. Mr. Nair said, “Our facilities are for all, and if certain members feel excluded from a community space, please know that the Dean of Students (DoS) office is here to help change that.”
The gym Student Associates (SAs) worked together with Athletics and Recreation to implement Pink Hour. The SAs have different specializations to provide a variety of expertise to students. They have also introduced the Women Who Lift group and Gym Bells workshops.
Jerusalem said, “The values of these workshops and Pink Hour are certainly aligned. Their target audience overlaps with each other but they aren’t the same. The introductory course targets beginners. The Pink Hour can be for beginners too but it is open to everyone.”
However, the amount of attention these initiatives have received online does not correspond with actual attendance. Out of eight people who signed up for the Women Who Lift course, only one person showed up. For the Bells workshop, none of the five who signed up online showed up. The attendance of the workshop helps DOS gauge interest on what programmes to organize.
Meanwhile, there were 45 likes and 4 comments on the Facebook post about these workshops.
Similarly, Pink Hour has seen limited attendance according to SA Ann Mak ’21 despite Jerusalem’s original post receiving 81 likes and 32 comments. Upcoming SA schedules have been synchronized with Pink Hour in an attempt to increase the visibility of future introductory workshops.
Nair said, “We hope students not only take initiative to ideate and discuss but also step up to volunteer their time and energies into putting plans into action. We are always here to support student initiatives and we hope students will support ours too.”
Michelle is the Director of Athletics in the Yale-NUS Student Government.