In response to a recent blogging dustup over proper reading materials for women lawyers, fitness centers in three states have banned “women-oriented gossip magazines” from being read during exercise classes or while using fitness equipment. Personal trainers who spot people reading People, US Weekly, or Oprah magazines on the premises are being instructed to confiscate the offending magazines and replace them with Scientific American, Men’s Health, or a recent federal court slip opinion.
The change comes after a blogging smack-down that began with a New York Times article discussing the reasons relatively few women contribute to Wikipedia, prompting one blogger to relate it to women at the gym who “read stupid shit like People and US Weekly.” The dustup resulted in nothing happening except a slew of new policies being enacted in various jurisdictions to help women lawyers read better and to publish more articles on Wikipedia.
One such policy, a “gender-neutral insult” advisory alert from the Cisco County Bar Association in Vermont, advises bar members in part to replace the word “bitch” with “asshole” when describing women attorneys who act like assholes. In addition, fitness centers and office lobbies across the country are expected to follow the lead of the three fitness centers that are now removing offending magazines from circulation.