Marielle Genovesi, Culture Editor
Ever since middle school, locker rooms have been awkward, even more so once you hit puberty. Perhaps not everyone is shy about stripping down to their birthday suits and heading into the showers, but many locker room frequenters seriously fear the community shower rooms. They dread having to stand under the low pressure water spouts, exposed either to their entire team, the old people from their gym or that stranger who has better abs than they do.
Why are we so private about our bodies? What does one have that someone of the same sex hasn’t seen? After all, we are all human beings, so why are we afraid to just be naked? We see naked bodies in magazine ads, films and on television, almost as much as we see our own. Sex scenes and photos of scantily clad underwear models are common images. Yet, comically, after we spend hours at practice or hitting the gym, most of us sweaty individuals feel the need to either avoid the showers completely or stand under the stream in our spandex and scrub around it.
Is this locker room shyness a gender issue? Perhaps men are just more comfortable being naked around each other and are more willing to joke about being collectively naked. Or are girls more comfortable talking about their bodies with each other, unafraid to discuss how they feel about themselves physically? It is not fair to suggest one or the other. At SUNY Oneonta’s Alumni Field House the general locker room showers for boys and for girls are designed completely differently. To this you might say, “So what?” But just take a moment to think about this: the girls’ showers are in separate cubicles, and they are cut off by a double layer of curtains, yet the boys’ locker room has one, large, communal shower. Same building, same architect, yet completely different showering scenarios. It makes you wonder.
Why have we been taught to feel uncomfortable with our bodies, even though we see ourselves nude every day? It could be because we are constantly reminded of an ideal body image that is essentially unattainable for most, or it could be because we grew up being told that being naked or comfortable physically around others was wrong, strange or weird. But it’s not. Locker rooms are and should be a place that you feel comfortable to go about your business without strange looks for your nudity. This is not to say that everyone has to, or should, go gallivanting around the locker room completely naked, but one shouldn’t be so shy to stand under a hot spray of water after a long day on the field or in the gym.