Last summer, the European Beach Volleyball Championship was in the news for a controversial reason. The Norwegian women’s team refused to play a match in bikini bottoms. Instead, they put on shorts, just like their male colleagues have been doing for years. The team ended up with a fine of fifteen hundred euros. The controversy caused a lot of commotion, but it seems to have paid off…
In addition to criticism from the sports world, the International Handball Federation(IHF) received requests from politicians. In an open letter to the IHF, ministers from five countries(Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Iceland, and Finland) asked for the current rules to be reviewed.
Beach volleyball players dress code adjusted after outrage
The dress code has since been changed. From 1 January 2022, the ladies can finally wear shorts instead of bikini bottoms. The length of the tops has also been adjusted. The sports bra has been swapped for tops that cover the midriff.
Media Release: International Handball Federation scraps sexist bikini rule
Rule change followed global campaign led by Australian woman @littleredfox17 Talitha Stone, currently living in Norway
Abid Raja, the former Norwegian Minister of Culture and Equality, is not overly enthusiastic about the new dress code yet.“I am pleased that the International Handball Federation has listened to the widespread criticism, both from the sports world and from outsiders such as the Nordic sports ministers, and has decided to change the dress requirements for beach handball players. I wish the International Handball Federation had taken the full step towards gender equality,” said Raja.
Improved dress code
On one hand, I understand the criticism, but on the other hand, I see the change in the dress code as a step in the right direction. As with many dress codes, there has to be outrage before anything is changed. And while more and more companies are opting for gender-neutral workwear, this is not something you can obligate. Men and women have different bodies. Especially in sports, it is important that every body gets the correct support. So as far as I’m concerned, this is a good development, period.