Small Sign of Progress: A Congresswoman Is Working Out With the Guys

What Women Really Think
July 7 2014 2:09 PM

Small Sign of Progress: A Congresswoman Is Working Out With the Guys

Tulsi Gabbard works out with men.

Photo by Thos Robinson/Getty Images for Women's Campaign Fund

A small sign of social progress: In a recent New York Times fluff piece about how Rep. Markwayne Mullin has created a bipartisan congressional workout club dedicated to hardcore training and muscle-building, the presence of Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii is covered without comment, even though Gabbard is clearly of the lady persuasion.

This is actually a pretty big deal. Writer Ashley Parker notes how these "huffing, grunting gym rats" working out together provides a networking opportunity that could lead to more bipartisanship. One of the ongoing obstacles to getting more women in power is that so many networking opportunities subtly exclude women by being "boys club" activities, like golf outings. These kind of outings put women in a strange double bind, where if they don't go they miss out on the networking, but if they do go, they have to worry about being treated like an oddity for their gender. (Even though plenty of women love sports, women are still subject to more scrutiny than men for having possible ulterior motives for going to sporting events.) Gabbard's unremarkable presence in the Mullin workout group suggests that this may be changing for the better.


That the workout in question is so hardcore makes this story all the more progressive. There's no mention of any ridiculous fear that Gabbard will "bulk up" too much, and her enthusiasm for the workout is treated exactly the same as the men's, complete with pictures of her doing a box jump just ahead of Republican Rep. Aaron Schock. Parker's little Styles piece about gym rat congressional critters shows how easy it is to cover female politicians without resorting to sexist tropes. More stories like this, please. 

Correction, July 7, 2014: This post originally misspelled Rep. Aaron Schock's last name.  

Amanda Marcotte is a Brooklyn-based writer and DoubleX contributor. She also writes regularly for the Daily Beast, AlterNet, and USA Today. Follow her on Twitter.



Don’t Worry, Obama Isn’t Sending U.S. Troops to Fight ISIS

But the next president might. 

The Extraordinary Amicus Brief That Attempts to Explain the Wu-Tang Clan to the Supreme Court Justices

Amazon Is Officially a Gadget Company. Here Are Its Six New Devices.

The Human Need to Find Connections in Everything

It’s the source of creativity and delusions. It can harm us more than it helps us.

How Much Should You Loathe NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell?

Here are the facts.

Altered State

The Plight of the Pre-Legalization Marijuana Offender

What should happen to weed users and dealers busted before the stuff was legal?

Surprise! The Women Hired to Fix the NFL Think the NFL Is Just Great.

You Shouldn’t Spank Anyone but Your Consensual Sex Partner

Sept. 17 2014 5:10 PM The Most Awkward Scenario in Which a Man Can Hold a Door for a Woman
  News & Politics
Altered State
Sept. 17 2014 11:51 PM The Plight of the Pre-Legalization Marijuana Offender What should happen to weed users and dealers busted before the stuff was legal?
Business Insider
Sept. 17 2014 1:36 PM Nate Silver Versus Princeton Professor: Who Has the Right Models?
Dear Prudence
Sept. 18 2014 6:00 AM All Shook Up My 11-year-old has been exploring herself with my “back massager.” Should I stop her?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 17 2014 6:14 PM Today in Gender Gaps: Biking
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 17 2014 9:37 AM Is Slate Too Liberal?  A members-only open thread.
Brow Beat
Sept. 17 2014 8:25 PM A New Song and Music Video From Angel Olsen, Indie’s Next Big Thing
Future Tense
Sept. 17 2014 9:00 PM Amazon Is Now a Gadget Company
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 18 2014 7:30 AM Red and Green Ghosts Haunt the Stormy Night
Sports Nut
Sept. 17 2014 3:51 PM NFL Jerk Watch: Roger Goodell How much should you loathe the pro football commissioner?