“We will continue to work together to change the dress code so that players can wear comfortable clothes for the game.”
This is a statement from the Norwegian Handball Federation (NHF) after the Norwegian women’s beach handball team was fined 1,500 euros (1764 US dollars).
What crime did they commit? They refused to wear bikini bottoms when participating in the European Championships. However, just the day before, a female disabled athlete was told that her shorts were “too short and too revealing.”
Unfortunately, monitoring the dress of female athletes (and women in general) is nothing new. Let’s review some of the most well-known incidents and subsequent counterattacks by women.
Beach handball team fined for not wearing bikini bottoms
The members of the Norwegian beach handball team complained that the swimming trunks they were required to wear in the most recent game were too restrained, too sexy, and uncomfortable.
Therefore, they chose to wear shorts (pictured above) when they played against Spain in order to win the bronze medal.
Before the tournament began, Norway contacted the International Handball Federation to request that women be allowed to wear shorts. Their request was not only rejected but also reminded that they would be punished for violating the rules. When the team chose to wear shorts during the game, each player was fined $177.
The European Handball Federation imposed a fine on the grounds of “improper dressing” and pointed out that the shorts used by the Norwegian team in the game “do not comply with the uniform regulations of the players in the rules of the International Handball Federation beach handball competition.”
But the fine attracted a backlash. Many people questioned, if male beach handball players can wear long and loose tank tops and shorts, and shorts can reach their knees, why can’t women wear similar clothes?
The head of the Norwegian Handball Federation, Kåre Geir Lio, said: “The most important thing is to have equipment that makes the athletes feel comfortable.”
He supports female athletes as well as federations that agree to pay fines.
Eirik Sordahl, president of the Norwegian Volleyball Federation, said: “In 2021, this shouldn’t even be a problem.”
The country’s Minister of Culture and Sports, Abid Raja, said on Twitter: “This is completely absurd. The machismo and conservative international sports world needs to change its attitude”.
Female athletes have complained about this difference in beach sports for many years. They believe that bikinis are both degrading and impractical.
“Every sport needs rules. But when we have a set of rules that are only for women, then there is a problem,” sports reporter Renata Mendonca told the BBC.
“This is the best example of sexism. Unfortunately, sexism in sports often occurs, which is also a huge factor in why so many outstanding female athletes withdraw from the field,” digital content creator and former lawyer Tovar Tova Leigh told the BBC.
“The problem is not shorts. The problem is that even in 2021, women are still told what they can or cannot wear because women’s bodies are still being objectified as male services, which gives everyone the right to dictate and make demands on them. “
“Women in sports are not taken seriously. They are treated as eye-catching objects rather than as professional athletes,” Lee added, adding that she often writes articles on social media and comments on the sexist censorship that the female body faces every day.
Mendonka also agreed: “There is no reasonable reason to require bikini competitions. Women wearing shorts will not change the sport. If there is, they will feel more comfortable.”
Mendonka is the co-founder of the digital platform Dibradoras, which aims to increase women’s exposure in the sports field. She said that in mainstream networks, they should but often not get exposure.
“As this kind of incident reveals, sports competitions seem to be for men. In 2021, the people who manage sports organizations are usually white men. They still treat female athletes as decorations. Female athletes exist only to please men. It should be. It is up to women to determine the most suitable attire for them. However, because there are few women in charge of sports organizations, and most of the time they do not, the voices of female athletes are not heard.” She said.
“Why are the voices of female athletes not considered, and why are the governing bodies and people around them throwing control over the bodies and clothing of female athletes?”
Paralympic athletes’ shorts were considered “too short and too revealing”
But the Norwegian team is not the first woman in sports to face this problem, and it probably won’t be the last.
In fact, just the day before they were fined, the British team’s disabled athlete and two-time Paralympic world champion Olivia Breen was told to wear “more suitable” shorts when participating in the British Championships. , Which left her “nothing to say”.
This sentence came from an official who said that her shorts were “too short and too revealing.” (You can go to theSentenceSee what she is wearing. )
The sprinter and long jumper will participate in the Paralympic Games in Tokyo next month, and she said she stepped up to prevent this from happening to others.
Brin described her sportswear as “high-waist bikini shorts.”
She told the BBC: “We want to play as light as possible during the game, without feeling heavy and comfortable. I have been wearing it for 9 years and have never had a problem. We should wear what we have the right to wear. “
“These two examples may seem contradictory, but they are just two sides of the same coin,” Lee believes. “The female body is treated and treated as a problem. Our body is either inappropriate or not entertaining enough.”
Wearing a headscarf
This problem also appeared as early as 2016, when a picture of the Rio Olympics was widely shared and commented on.
The photos of two beach volleyball players aroused heated discussion. They are from Egypt and Germany (see picture above). Not because of their impressive athletic skills, but because of their seemingly “very different costumes.” Some newspapers say this photo represents a kind of “cultural conflict.”
This kind of comment has been fiercely refuted, and many people say it actually shows “the unity of sports.”
Egypt’s Doaa Elghobashy (the character in the photo) is the first Olympic beach volleyball player to wear a headscarf. She just said at the time: “I have worn a headscarf for 10 years…This does not prevent me from doing what I like to do, and beach volleyball is one of them.”
But this kind of scrutiny of a photo highlights a bigger problem for many people.
British journalist Hannah Smith wrote at the time: “No matter what cultural background you come from, the female body and the way these bodies are dressed are still considered public property. Or, more accurately, the property of patriarchy. What do you wear as a woman to participate in sports, you will always be judged by men watching.”
“Cat Clothes” Selena Williams
When American tennis star Serena Williams returned to the court after taking maternity leave, she dedicated her 2018 French Open costume to “all mothers who have experienced a difficult pregnancy.”
The 23-time Grand Slam champion said that her “cat suit” made her feel like “the queen from Wakanda (the country in the movie “Black Panther”).
Bernard Giudicelli, president of the French Tennis Association, told tennis magazine: “We are sometimes too outrageous. You have to respect the game and respect this place.” She was told that the suit was no longer allowed (appearing on the court) ).
Williams said that this suit helped her cope with the blood clot problem. She said that the blood clot almost cost her her life during childbirth.
But she said that she had talked with Judicelli at the time and insisted that the decision was “not a big deal” and that “if they knew something was for health reasons, then they couldn’t disagree.”
Therefore, as more and more female athletes express their positions, people are also shouting. Has the situation changed?
A new jumpsuit for gymnasts
German gymnast Sarah Voss decided to break with tradition and wear a jumpsuit that fully conceals her legs at the European Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships in April 2021.
She did not violate the rules, but she did violate the convention.
Prior to this, women and girls who chose to cover their legs in international gymnastics competitions were based on religious reasons.
She told the BBC that she wanted to be “a role model for young gymnasts. They don’t feel very safe all the time” and hoped that others would follow her approach, although she said that if others don’t want to do it, they shouldn’t.
“If they feel safe, they can wear ordinary tights, if they like it… For me, this doesn’t mean that I will wear long tights every time in the future. It depends on my It feels and how I want to perform.”
Voss also received support from the German sports authorities, as well as the support of two teammates who joined her initiative.
The German Gymnastics Association praised their opposition to “genderization in gymnastics”.
Although the application of “Soul Cap” has not been smooth sailing, the trend seems to be changing.
A swimming cap designed for African hair was previously not allowed to be used in international competitions. After the decision caused repercussions, it may now be reconsidered.
The product of “Soul Hat” said that Fina, the world swimming management agency, told them that their hats were not suitable for (international competitions) because they did not conform to the “natural shape of the head.”
But this comment sparked criticism from many swimmers, some who said it would prevent blacks from participating in the sport.
Therefore, FINA now says it is “reviewing” these products.
Stories about female athletes being criticized for their clothes cannot but make headlines in the future.
But according to Lee, there is one thing we can all do to help ourselves, and that is “whenever you see a problem, tell it.”
Why? Because “we want to show girls from a young age that sports are also a place for women.”