A Bethesda group called Sexism Matters created a blog and Change.org petition in late-June with the sole goal of getting the Equinox (4905 Elm St.) to take the ad down. The large photo on the Woodmont Avenue side of the gym building showed a model-thin woman on all fours while playing pool in a short dress.
The ad was up since January and one of a rotating bunch of the same series of risque ads Equinox uses all over the country.
It came down in mid-July, which a Equinox spokesperson said was previously scheduled. The petition got plenty of local media coverage and 1,455 supporters.
The new window ad, installed this week, actually shows something that can be interpreted as exercise. That was one of the group’s main qualms.
“Our daughters and sons walk by the billboard outside Equinox Gym every day. They see a woman in a degrading sexual position, being “celebrated” for her hypersexualized and supposed dexterity, with a pool cue and balls. This is somehow meant to advertise for a fitness facility,” read the anonymous group’s petition.
The new ad also offers a free initiation fee for a limited time.
Sexism Matters has declared victory on the issue:
Whether or not the gym took it down “as scheduled” or our little-petition-that-could made a difference – it’s a win for the Bethesda community. A great thanks to all those that have signed, written, called, quit, and stood up against sexism. It may be a “small” victory, but we can’t sit by and expect change to happen all by itself.
Victory is sweet, but there is much more to do. The goal now will be to make sure that Equinox doesn’t put up a new billboard that is equally offensive or worse. We’ll be keeping an eye on Equinox, among other habitual offenders, and if you’d like to stay informed follow/like us on Twitter/Facebook/Tumblr/Wordpress.