Yuri Kim/The Bates Student
Founded in January 2020 by Julia Panepinto ’20, Fem Folx is a Bates-born lifting group that works to foster a supportive and positive workout environment, specifically for women and non-binary individuals. Gyms are notoriously male-dominated and testosterone-filled, and Fem Folx is working to mitigate this culture in Underhill and Merrill Gyms.
The group meets every Saturday evening in Underhill from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. They designate sessions for specific workouts so that they are able to categorize the goals of the workouts they’re doing. In a typical meeting, the group is split off into pairs, with whom they work with to complete a series of exercises. They work to ensure everyone’s ability to work at their own pace while also encouraging the group to stay together to the best of their abilities.
Fem Folx is suited for individuals with a wide range of lifting experience and skill levels, though they often focus instruction towards a more intermediate level and let the more versed members fend for themselves.
Emma Rippey ’24 co-leads the group alongside Hermione Zhou ’22 and Delilah Meyer ’24. Rippey joined Fem Folx because she wanted a group to lift with, and liked the idea of an all-female space to enjoy this. Since then she has come to learn about the process of leading a lift and how to push and encourage others.
Rippey and Meyer are thrilled to have two more years to work with this group and have many goals they want to accomplish. For one, Rippey is looking for consistency in showings. With more consistent numbers, they will increase their ability to form personal relationships with members and expand the school-wide influence of the club.
Over the last few years, the group has successfully fostered a safe space in the gym for so many athletes that previously felt like they didn’t have an opportunity to lift in Underhill. Despite this accomplishment, the leaders still feel they have a long way to go. As Rippey explained, they plan to continue to work towards the end goal of allowing people to feel comfortable in the gym all the time, not just during Fem Folx sessions.