Talitha Stone's change.org petition
As an Aussie sports-loving woman living in Norway, I am really disturbed to see the Norwegian women’s beach handball team fined for not playing in bikinis at the Euro 21 match with Spain.
Male players are allowed to play in tank tops and shorts. But the International Handball Federation (IHF) rules state women players have to wear bikini bottoms “with a close fit and cut on an upward angle toward the top of the leg”. IHF says the outfit is consistent with the ‘attractive image of the sport’.
You have to wonder who the outfit is really designed to please.
The European Handball Federation’s (EHF) disciplinary commission fined the team $1,500 euros for defying the rules by wearing bike shorts instead of bikinis– even describing the shorts as “improper clothing"! The team had asked to be allowed to wear shorts but was threatened with a fine and even disqualification.
I love that the women went ahead with shorts anyway!
I’ve always been a big sportsperson. I was involved in athletics from a young age and now I train and compete in triathlons here in Norway. I’ve always felt that there’s a big difference in how men and women are treated in sport - different expectations about performance, appearance and clothing.
Why should female athletes be punished for wearing an outfit which is functional and practical allowing freedom of movement without being worried about possible exposure to a big audience as well as unwanted comments and sexual harassment?
Global research shows the number of girls playing sport is declining because they are self-conscious about their bodies and attracting unwanted attention. Forcing women to wear bikini bottoms sends a bad message to all girls that sport isn’t about fitness and enjoyment, but about putting your body on display.
I’m not going to let that continue. That’s why I am launching this petition calling on the IHF to drop this harmful rule – and on the EHF to drop the fine - and let women wear shorts.
Dear Dr Hassan Moustafa (President, International Handball Federation) and Michael Wiederer (President, European Handball Federation)*
Drop the fine and let them wear shorts!
We call on you to withdraw the fine against the Norwegian women’s beach handball team for choosing to wear bike shorts over bikini bottoms at the recent Euro 21 match in Bulgaria.
We also call on you to change your rules so that female players can elect to wear bike shorts if they prefer.
Female athletes should not be punished for wearing an outfit which is functional and practical allowing freedom of movement and protecting them from unwanted exposure.
Forcing women to wear bikini bottoms sends a damaging message to all girls that women’s sport isn’t about fitness and enjoyment, but about putting your body on display.