Pink Offers to Pay Fines for Norwegian Women’s Beach Handball Team After They Refused to Wear Bikinis
The Norwegian women’s beach handball team has found an unlikely champion in pop superstar Pink. The team refused to wear the mandated uniform, which consists of sports bras and bikini bottoms (yes really), opting to wear shorts at the European Beach Handball Championships in Bulgaria last week. As a result, the Norwegian team was fined 1,500 euros ($1,770) for what the European federation called “improper clothing” and “a breach of clothing regulations.” The men’s team, of course, can compete wearing shorts.
Pink tweeted, “I’m VERY proud of the Norwegian female beach handball team FOR PROTESTING THE VERY SEXIST RULES ABOUT THEIR “uniform”. The European handball federation SHOULD BE FINED FOR SEXISM. Good on ya, ladies. I’ll be happy to pay your fines for you. Keep it up.”
I’m VERY proud of the Norwegian female beach handball team FOR PROTESTING THE VERY SEXIST RULES ABOUT THEIR “uniform”. The European handball federation SHOULD BE FINED FOR SEXISM. Good on ya, ladies. I’ll be happy to pay your fines for you. Keep it up.
— P!nk (@Pink) July 25, 2021
The European Handball Federation has come under fire, as the uniform issue has made international news ahead of the Olympics. The EHF made a statement sayingthey would donate the money “to a major international sports foundation which supports equality for women and girls in sports.” European Handball Federation President Michael Wiederer said, “We are very much aware of the attention the topic has received over the past days, and while changes cannot happen overnight, we are fully committed that something good comes out of this situation right now,” adding “I can confirm that the EHF will do all it can to ensure that a change of athlete uniform regulations can be implemented,” Wiederer said in a statement. Significant efforts will be made in order to further promote the sport in the best way possible for everyone, regardless of gender.”
Here are the rules for the men’s vs. women’s uniforms. Ridiculously pic.twitter.com/8wDXG22sTd
— KT SLP (@MrsThornSLP) July 25, 2021
The team posted on Instagram, “Thank you so much for all the support ❤️🥺 We really appreciate all the love we have received🙏🏼”.
View this post on Instagram
Ultimately, the Norwegian Handball Federation decided to pay the fine on behalf of the women’s team. The NHF released a statement saying, “We are very proud of these girls who during the European Championships raised their voices and announced that enough is enough! We at NHF stand behind you and support you. Together we will continue to fight to change the rules for clothing, so that players can play in the clothes they are comfortable with.”
Player Katinka Haltvik said the decision to wear shorts was “very spontaneous” and that they “felt threatened by the regulations”. She added, “People cheered on us for going in front of several teams and taking the brunt. Not all teams can afford to pay such fines,…[Handball] should be an inclusive sport, not an exclusive one.”
Still, Pink’s tweet spotlighted the sexism inherent in many women’s sports uniforms. Many called out the objectification of female athletes:
The Norwegian Women’s Beach Handball team is facing fines for wanting to wear shorts instead of bikini bottoms. The bottoms are not to cover “more than 10cm on any sides.”
The men’s team wears shorts.
The sexualization of women athletes must stop. https://t.co/IZEzbrE0Iw
— Billie Jean King (@BillieJeanKing) July 20, 2021
Between @Pink offering to pay the fine of the Norwegian Beach Handball team and Germany’s #Tokyo2020 gymnasts making a stand, it’s great to see the conversation around great uniforms for women in sport continue!
Remember, getting it right is simple 👉 https://t.co/5C9l0rnEVV https://t.co/Wu974yH819
— Sarah Styles (@SarahStylesAU) July 26, 2021
I knew there was a double standard for uniforms worn by male and female athletes… but this picture of Norway’s beach handball team says a lot. https://t.co/qdZBKU7pTK pic.twitter.com/KoWdOvecmr
— Dr. Ji Son (@cogscimom) July 20, 2021
We stand with Norway’s Beach Handball team.
Sports should be a safe and comfortable space for all!https://t.co/D9imbCSxfw
— NWSLPA (@nwsl_players) July 22, 2021
(via The Guardian, image: Rich Fury/Getty Images for dcp)
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