Red Women was born through amalgamating Virginia Woolf with the Red Tent Movement.
Originating from America, the Red Tent Movement creates both literal and metaphorical ‘red tents’ around the world, one day a month either on or near to the new moon. Inside the Red Tent Temples, women are given the chance to acknowledge their own needs, remember their own identity, to stop and breathe.
Meanwhile in her speech ‘A Room of One’s Own’, delivered in 1928 at Cambridge University, Virginia Woolf spoke the immortal lines
A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction
…justifying the need for a woman to have a space she could call her own.
A space where there was no need to hurry, no need to sparkle, no need to be anyone…but oneself.
The birth of Red Women
Now at OSF, we debated setting up our own Red Tent once a month, but decided that we wanted to do more. So, from this vague beginning, Red Women was created.
Set in a gym, Red Woman obviously gives women the chance to exercise and train in a female-only space.
The atmosphere at Red Women breeds internal motivation.
Rather than look towards celebrities or health professionals, we can focus our attention onto the far more realistically achievable. For, as women, we all have the same expectations placed upon us, we all have similar roles, we all face the same pressures. Yet, in a world of celebrities, it’s so easy to dismiss any achievement as impossible: her endless bank account, her personal chef, her manipulation of photoshop.
But, at Red Women, we all have an equal starting point: I want to be fast like Sarah, strong like Taran or motivated like Millie. We see progress occurring weekly, and we have a host of women ready to hold us also to account if we venture off track.
Red Women gives busy women an excuse to do something on their own, for themselves. This scheduled weekly time allows them to say, ‘Alright, I’m going to my women’s only session so you can’t come, it’s my time.’
But, again, we wanted more.
The foundation of Old School Fitness is built upon community.
Not only community, but also the individual for, we believe, if the individual doesn’t feel strong nor empowered, nor confident in their own mind, then that building block in society’s wall starts to crumble…
In Greek mythology, the goddess Hestia was not only the goddess of the home and family, but also of the hearth or (more colloquially) the fireplace.
At OSF, our entire site is built around our very own fireplace.
Now, ours may not be lit, and may contain a 32kg gorilla kettlebell, but the symbolism is never lost.
The word ‘hearth’ is derived from the root word ‘heart’. In Ancient Greek, all homes would have a shrine to Hestia, a burning flame. Failure to maintain Hestia’s fire in her shrine was a breach of duty towards society.
If a person does not maintain the flame within their own home, within their own body, then that person would become nothing more than a burden, acting as poison within their own community.
Red Women is a place in our local community where women can exercise but also can just be. A place where we can meet each other and, at the very same time, take care of ourselves and one another.
How about not doing anything for two hours but focus on ourselves? Or seeing what happens when we don’t have a plan or a direction?
And most importantly, throughout all this time spent together, we are growing a firm foundation of connections locally of women. Everyone is respectful, curious and willing to help each other out by exchanging advice. It’s mentoring at its most informal.
At Red Women, we can journal, rest, exercise, stretch, draw, read, share or listen. There will always be food and there will always be tea.
Red Women is a free movement, we just want a donation to Coventry Haven “to ensure safety and empowerment for women and children who are experiencing Domestic Violence and Abuse (DVA) in any form”.