‘Only elegant ladies allowed’: Gym sparks row with ‘no aunties’ rule, owner defends decision | Trending - Hindustan Times

‘Only elegant ladies allowed’: Gym sparks row with ‘no aunties’ rule, owner defends decision

Jun 18, 2024 12:19 PM IST

A gym in South Korea has invited backlash after putting up a sign banning ‘aunties’. The sign said only ‘elegant’ women would be allowed entry.

A gym in South Korea has sparked a row by banning ‘aunties’ from its premises. According to a report in South China Morning Post, the gym in Incheon city put up a sign saying “Only well-mannered and elegant ladies are allowed to enter.”

A gym in South Korea has banned 'aunties' (Representational image)
A gym in South Korea has banned 'aunties' (Representational image)

The sign further stated that the gym is “off limits to ajummas.” In South Korea, the word ajumma is used for middle-aged or older women, typically in their late 30s or above. Depending upon the context in which it is used, the word can be considered derogatory or can be used to express disapproval for rude behaviour, reported BBC.

The gym in Incheon, near the capital city of Seoul, shared the offensive sign on June 7. Since then, it has been caught in a storm of backlash, with critics calling it yet another instance of discrimination against older women in South Korea.

Gym owner's defense

However, the owner of the gym has defended his decision saying that “aunties” disrupted the gym. The owner, who was not named in local reports, claimed that the gym suffered damages because of these women.

“[Some older women customers] would spend an hour or two in the changing room to do their laundry. They would also steal items including towels, soaps, or hair dryers,” he said during a TV interview.

The gym owner added that these women would verbally harass his clientele, suggesting that younger women should be focusing on family instead of working out. He said the aunties would mock women in the gym with taunts like “You should be good at having children.”

“They would sit in a row and comment and judge other people’s bodies,” he added. Because of their behaviour, many women quit the gym, claimed the owner.

However, people criticised the gym owner for equating bad behaviour with women of a certain age. "If you have worked in the service industry, you’d know that it’s not just older women who fall into those categories,” one commenter pointed out, according to BBC.

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