A photo of the Norwegian women's beach handball team wearing shorts in a team photo, as shown on NBC News

Things We Saw Today: Women’s Beach Handball Team Fined for Refusing To Play in Bikinis

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The Norwegian women’s beach handball team has been fined for their decision to play in shorts rather than the mandated bikini bottoms.

While men are allowed to play the sport in shorts and long tank tops, women are required to wear midriff-baring tops and bikini bottoms—specifically ones “with a close fit and cut on an upward angle toward the top of the leg.” The side width of those bottoms is not allowed to be more than 10 centimeters (about four inches).

The team petitioned to be allowed to play in shorts during the EURO 2021 tournament but was threatened with a fine or even disqualification, according to NBC News. It wasn’t until the last day of the tournament that the team decided to just play in what made them feel comfortable, subbing out the bikini bottoms for the shorts they wear when they train and compete at home.

They were fined 150 euros each (1,500 total) for “improper clothing,” but thanks to the incredible backlash seen so far, change might be coming.

European Handball Federation President Michael Wiederer has said the EHF is “committed to doing everything in its power to influence the adaptation of beach handball uniform rules in the wake of the demonstration of the Norwegian women’s beach handball team at the EHF Beach Handball EURO,” according to a statement from EHF.

Wiederer made it clear that the decision is ultimately up to the International Handball Federation but said the EHF is “committed to doing all we can do influence that.”

Meanwhile, in England, Paralympic world champion Olivia Breen was told over the weekend that the briefs she wore during competition were “inappropriate.”

Breen says she was wearing official Adidas briefs—the same kind she’s worn for years—during the long jump competition at the English Championships last weekend. When she finished her event, she says a female officiant “felt it necessary to inform me that my sprint briefs were too short and inappropriate. I was left speechless.”

“I have been wearing the same sprint style briefs for many years and they are specifically designed for competing in,” she wrote on Twitter. “I will hopefully be wearing them in Tokyo. It made me question whether a male competitor would be similarly criticised.”

There you have it. Women are shamed if their shorts are too short and fined if they’re too long.

(image: NBC News)

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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.