Thursday, July 29, 2021

Time To End The Double Standard In Uniforms For Athletes

You may have already heard about the fine levels against the women's beach handball team for Norway. Instead if wearing the mandated bikini bottoms, they chose to wear shorts, and each player on the team was fined 150 euros (for a team total of 1500 euros) by the European Handball Federation.

Singer Pink said she would pay all the fines. Good for her. But why must the women wear bikini bottoms? The men play in shorts -- why can't the women? Are they trying to sell sex or a sport?

This is not the only sport requiring sexy uniforms for women, but not for men -- and it's time for it to stop in all sports.

I am an avid fan of both men's and women's sports, and I don't watch them because of the kind of uniforms they wear in either. I only care about how well the sport is being played, and who wins. I think most other sports fans are the same. Athletes should be allowed to wear any kind of uniform they want (as long as it doesn't give them an unfair advantage over the other athletes).

The following is from Ivanka Saric and Ina Fried at

Female Olympians in Tokyo are rejecting the uniforms that have long defined their sports, highlighting a double standard that exists how women dress in competition vs. men. 

Driving the news: During their qualifying round Sunday, Germany's women's gymnastics team wore full-length unitards, eschewing the conventional leg-barring leotards worn by most female gymnasts.

  • Earlier this week Norway's women's beach handball team was fined for wearing shortsinstead of the required bikini bottoms during a match.

Between the lines: The German Gymnastics Federation said the new uniforms were meant to push back "against sexualization in gymnastics."

  • “It's about what feels comfortable,” three-time Olympian Elisabeth Seitz told reporters in Tokyo. “We wanted to show that every woman, everybody, should decide what to wear."
  • The Norwegian Olympians highlighted the double standard for female athletes.
  • "I don’t see why we can’t play in shorts,” said Norwegian player Martine Welfler. "With so much body shaming and stuff like that these days, you should be able to wear a little bit more when you play."
  • Australian athletes voiced support for the Norweigians' move. "It is so much easier to focus on your performance... when you do not have to worry about whether your bikini bottom has ridden up in an unflattering way… or what angle a photographer might be able to capture you on,” Australian beach handball player Rose Boyd told The Feed.

State of play: Double standards between male and female athletes often come down to aesthetics and convention, rather than necessity.

  • Male gymnasts typically compete in shorts or loose pants, while female gymnasts are typically seen sporting bikini-cut leotards, even as many prefer to train wearing shorts, notes the New York Times.
  • While no rules bar female gymnasts from wearing long unitards in competition, they remain niche, often worn by athletes for religious reasons, per the Times.
  • The International Handball Federation permits male beach handball players to wear shorts as long as four inches above their knees as long as they are "not too baggy," much like the ones the Norwegian women's team wore last week. 
  • Yet the IHF requires women to wear bikini bottoms "with a close fit and cut on an upward angle toward the top of the leg" that are no longer than four inches on the sides.

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