How women in 2021 are tackling sexualisation by taking ownership of what they wear

Here are some of the women who have taken control of their outfits in 2021: Norwegian women's beach handball team, German women's gymnastic team, American singer Billie Eilish and Welsh Paralympic world champion Olivia Breen. Source: Instagram.
Here are some of the women who have taken control of their outfits in 2021: Norwegian women's beach handball team, German women's gymnastic team, American singer Billie Eilish and Welsh Paralympic world champion Olivia Breen. Source: Instagram.

Women across the world are taking a stand against the ongoing sexualisation of their bodies by taking ownership of what they choose to wear.

Their actions are causing a ripple effect, sweeping its way through nations and onto the world stage.

You may have seen the story of pop star Pink offering to pay the £1500 euros ($2,407) fine for the Norwegian women's beach handball team. Their faux pas was choosing to wear shorts instead of bikini bottoms in the European Beach Handball Championships.

In celebration we've pulled together a list of all the ways women have taken back control of their bodies in 2021.

Women's beach handball team refuse to wear bikini bottoms

Only a few days before the Tokyo Olympic Games begun, the Norwegian women's beach handball team was fined £1500 euros for wearing shorts instead of bikini bottoms in the European Beach Handball Championships.

The European Handball Federation said the shorts were "improper clothing" and not in line with the uniform regulations. The rules require female players to wear "cut on an upward angle" bikini bottoms with a maximum side width of 10 centimetres.

However, the uniforms are drastically different for their male counterparts, requiring them to wear a singlet and shorts, which must remain 10cm above the knee.

On Twitter, singer Pink wrote she'd "be happy" pay the fine and said she was "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."

These women are not the only athletes who have had enough of the outdated and gendered dress code regulations, they are demanding their uniforms to be designed for athleticism and not sexualised based on their gender.

German gymnasts show the world you can do flips brilliant despite wearing a unitard

For many decades, Olympic female gymnasts have worn bikini-cut leotards.

However, on Sunday at the Tokyo Olympics, the German women's gymnastic team decided to wear full-length unitards to push back against the 'sexualisation' in the sport.

Even though the German team were the only female gymnasts who wore full-length unitards during the qualifying event at the Games, their decision sent a clear and powerful message by taking ownership of what they wear during competitions and highlighted the discrepancies displayed in their uniforms in comparison to the men's uniform.

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One of those gymnasts, Sarah Voss, told the BBC in an April interview thatshe wants to be a "role model for young gymnasts who don't feel very safe in every situation".

The German gymnasts say they want the trend to catch on.

'It's all about what makes you feel good': How women are taking their power back

Outside of the sporting arena, American singer Billie Eilish is taking her power back.

In her explosive Vogue interview in May, Billie Eilish spoke opened up about her experience with exploitation in the music industry and how she is taking her power back by "not letting myself be owned anymore".

After years of her signature baggy clothing look to avoid being sexualised, the singer chose to wear a form-fitting catsuits and corset-inspired outfits in a series for Vogue to take ownership back of her body.

"It's all about what makes you feel good. If you want to get surgery, go get surgery. If you want to wear a dress that somebody thinks that you look too big wearing, f**k it - if you feel like you look good, you look good," Billie Eilish said in her interview.

The singer emphasises that showing your body should not take any respect away from you.

It goes both ways: Athlete left 'speechless' after being told sprint briefs too short

Welsh Paralympic world champion Olivia Breen said she was 'speechless' and disappointed after an official at the English Championships in Bedford told her that her sprint briefs were "too short and inappropriate".

The 24-year-old long jumper, who has cerebral palsy, wrote on Twitter: "I was left speechless. I have been wearing the same sprint style briefs for many years and they are specifically designed for competing in."

Breen spoke out against double standards for female athlete uniforms after being told that her shorts were too revealing and said it made her question whether a male competitor would be similarly criticised.

"Women should not be made to feel self conscious about what they are wearing when competing but should feel comfortable and at ease," Breen wrote in her tweet.

It should not matter whether a woman chooses to wear full-length unitards or sprints deemed too short; what matters is the freedom they have to wear what they feel comfortable in, without being sexualised.

'Sport appeal, not sex appeal': How it's changing the way we film sport

The clear and powerful message put forward by these women is having a ripple effect across the world and is changing how we film sporting events.

The head of broadcasting at the Tokyo Olympics announced they will attempt to ban overly sexualized images of female athletes.

With the effort to push forward the Olympic mantra of 'sport appeal, not sex appeal', the Olympic broadcasting team aim to set the highest level of TV standards to achieve gender equality.

This story All the ways women have taken control of their outfits in 2021 first appeared on The Canberra Times.