Norway’s Women’s Handball Team Wins Fight Against Sexist Bikini Mandate
The Norwegian women’s beach handball team has won their fight against the sport’s sexist rules mandating they play in midriff-baring tops and bikini bottoms.
View this post on Instagram
Earlier this year, the team was fined and threatened with disqualification for choosing to wear shorts during a tournament. The fine was not exactly hefty (150 euros each, 1,500 total) but the principle of the issue gained worldwide attention and backlash. Even pop superstar Pink got involved, offering to pay the team’s fine. (The European Handball Federation ultimately said that wasn’t necessary and donated the money to “a major international sports foundation which supports equality for women and girls in sports.”)
At the time, EHF President Michael Wiederer has said the federation was “committed to doing everything in its power to influence the adaptation of beach handball uniform rules” and the Norwegian Handball Federation had reportedly been advocating to change the rules since 2006. But ultimately, the decision regarding uniforms was up to the International Handball Federation. It took this summer’s protest and the massive spotlight that came with it to actually get the IHF to make that change.
Starting next year, the IHF’s guidelines have expanded to uniform requirements for women from the current bikini bottoms to “short tight pants.” There is still a major gender discrepancy in these rules, as male players are only required to wear a “tank top and shorts,” while women must wear “short tight pants” and a “body fit tank top.”
This is a great win for these players and Norwegian Handball Federation President Kåre Geir Lio says that the female players were “very satisfied” with the new rule allowing them to choose the length of their shorts. Still, it would be interesting to hear what logistical justification there is for requiring women to play in “body fit” spandex. Since men do not have the same rule, it would be hard to argue that looser-fitting uniforms impede gameplay.
After decades of digging their heels in over requiring bikini bottoms, it seems like the IHF simply isn’t willing to entirely eradicate the potential for objectification from women’s sports, which is ultimately disappointing.
(via NBC News, image: NBC)
Want more stories like this? Become a subscriber and support the site!
—The Mary Sue has a strict comment policy that forbids, but is not limited to, personal insults toward anyone, hate speech, and trolling.—
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]