Personal trainer Heidi Aragon recently had an experience that many of us have experienced while working out.
While Heidi was focused on her exercise routine and minding her own business, a male stranger began to follow her around the gym and staring at her—particularly at specific parts of her anatomy.
As a personal trainer, Heidi’s fitness routine is obviously important to her—it’s not just part of her personal identity, it’s also her livelihood. We can only assume she takes her workouts seriously. Like any person dedicating the time and energy to challenge and improve her body, she wanted to work out in peace.
Of course, many women and femmes, even those of us who love the gym, have had this experience. We can all be thankful that the influence of #MeToo has helped immensely with us being taken seriously when we report it, the truth is that not everyone always feels comfortable complaining to management at an athletic facility. Also, for those who run outdoors or do yoga in the park, there’s not always someone you can report misbehavior to. All too often, creepy men still make life unpleasant enough for women minding their own business; it can be enough to make you change where you go to work out, or what time of day.
But Heidi Aragon took one for the team. She stood her ground and didn’t back down. First, she tried having her husband stand in front of her to block the creep’s gaze.
When the creep simply shifted his position and continued staring at her, Heidi stopped working out and deliberately stared back, maintaining eye contact until the creep seemed to get the point.
But pretty soon after Heidi went back to working out, he went back to staring at her. Finally, she walked up to him and addressed him directly.
“I told him if he’s gonna work out in this corner, he needed to stop staring and making me uncomfortable,” Heidi’s video explains. “His response was, ‘I’m just looking around’. I then told him I record my workouts and I have him on film. He shut up real quick.”
Since as a personal trainer Heidi records her workouts for her social media channels, she was able to share some of the story with her followers.
@fit_with_heidi Don’t sit there and tell me you’re not doing something when I have proof. 😡 #gymtok #fittok #influencer #viral #trending #tiktok #fitness #gym #gymgirl #fyp #fypシ #foryou #foryoupage #gymcreeps ♬ Real As It Gets – Lil Baby
The calm and confident way she dealt with it has garnered her some well-deserved praise. After all, many women are still passive in such situations, due to understandable fear or anxiety or embarrassment. Additionally, we live in a culture that tends to glorify extremely aggressive and confrontational reactions. But Heidi walked the healthy line of assertiveness, and people were very impressed.
Most TikTokers validated her reactions, and praised the action that she chose to take. Many also expressed that they would have gotten angry enough at the violation to have done far worse:
And, of course, there were trolls doing their trolling thing under the vast bridge that is social media. They came out to criticize everything about Heidi, from her appearance to her age to her body to her clothing, and defending the creep as being “legally allowed” to stare at someone in a public space. TikTok wasn’t having it, and smacked them down immediately:
Good job, Heidi! You’re inspired other women to defend themselves and claim their space, whether in public or in private.