Changing China

Giant on the move

Let’s not get our bikini bottoms in a twist

August 18, 2008

Beach volleyballersSweeping the blogosphere, there are two divergent camps when it comes to beach volleyball.

There are those who complain that it is demeaning that female athletes play in bikinis while men wear tanktops and long shorts. Then there those who post pictures of players’ posteriors with pathetic locker-room comments that seem to prove the first camp right.

But before we get our bikini bottoms in a twist, let’s head across to the Bird’s Nest where the fashions of track and field are on display. A quick glance around and, hey presto, same story.

The female athletes are in two-pieces, enviably flat stomachs on show, while the men are sporting shorts and a tanktop or one pieces.

polevaultIt strikes me there are double standards going on here. Is this linguistic discrimination because on the beach two-pieces are called bikinis? Is it because beach volleyball is considered frivolous and so has become a punching bag for anybody with an issue? Is it because people want to see the men topless?

For the record, I have spoken to many players about the dress code, which does offer women the option of a one-piece. Not one woman said she would ditch her bikini (a) because it limits how much itchy sand gets in (b) it is the coolest option for a sport played in hot countries (c) because the players are pretty proud of their physiques and are not ashamed to show them off. To wear anything else would be unnatural.

The men fall into two camps. A couple said they would keep the tanktop because diving onto sand is pretty painful bare-nippled. The others would much rather rip their tops off and cool down a bit on court. Most of them practise bare-chested.

Some members of the volleyball federation are pushing for no more tanktops so if you have an opinion, don’t just write to me…

PHOTO (TOP): Renata Ribeiro (R) and Talita Rocha of Brazil celebrate their victory against Natalie Cook and Tasmin Barnett of Australia during their women’s beach volleyball quarterfinal match at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, August 17, 2008. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

PHOTO (BOTTOM): Alana Boyd of Australia jumps in the women’s pole vault qualifying round of the athletics competition in the National Stadium at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games August 16, 2008. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon  


GO CANADA GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by Don | Report as abusive

I think that bikinis are much better for movement. If a one piece suit would limit them, then why would they go with that option at all?
Go Canada!!!


Isn’t the answer given by the other Reuters article about beach volleyball, with the players wearing lensless spectacles? It’s SPONSORSHIP. The men are maximising the area of clothing they can sell; the women are maximising the number of views per logo….

Posted by Ian Kemmish | Report as abusive

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