Now, there are some very interesting sights to behold at a public swimming pool or beach, and I am very sure that everyone has experienced either some sort of bathing-suit jealousy, horrors or both (depending on your tastes and expectations)… however, I was talking to my Italian colleague the other day and he was telling me about how he had gone to the pool with his girlfriend; an experience from which he was left with the peculiar realization that people would stare at him, or physically turn away when he walked by, followed by an unabashed commentary about his choice of attire – a Speedo.
He assured me that in Italy, this is a very common choice of swim wear for men, as most men would find swimming trunks to be very heavy and awkward. A sentiment I can easily appreciate, despite never having worn a pair, due to … well… physics.
We concluded with the realization, that this seems to be a form of sexism.
I admit, I am only able to base my assumptions on public pools in Canada and Ireland, but we both realized, that there seems to be a very negative stigma associated with Speedos, when worn by men who are not visibly competing in a water sport. Parents feel the need to shield their children’s eyes, young women cover themselves more and walk briskly on and other men got oddly aggressive. It seems, that the speedo is associated with being “scantily clad” below the social level of acceptability, which struck us as incredibly bizarre.
Anyone who has been out on the town or to a public pool lately, must have witnessed the near nothingness that passes as women’s bathing suits these days, and almost no one says a word. If a woman, covers less than 20% of her body with skimpy fabric and strings, it’s perfectly acceptable – a little risqué perhaps, but nothing malevolent. However, as soon as a man chooses to wear a well fitting pair of briefs as his choice of swim wear, he is demonized in some way; accused through the looks, stares and glares of passers by of being some sort of misfit, socially deplorable or a pervert even.
What I find outrageous, is that it seems to me like an overwhelming amount of society is on a huge “stop sexism” trip, that includes but is not limited to, allowing women to wear what ever they want, when ever they want and where ever they want, whether it is appropriate or not, and anyone who questions a woman’s attire is either a sexists, member of (or enslaved by) the patriarchy and gets instantly accused of “slut shaming”; all the while the same is not true for men. If they are unsuitably dressed, we still tell them what is and isn’t appropriate, judge them by how well shaven or not they are and shame them for a choice of attire that if the equivalent were chosen by a woman (bikini vs. speedo for instance) we were to holler “you go girl”.
In my humble opinion, this needs to stop.
Equality, is the most important goal and as long as we are scolding one but not the other, or even worse empowering one and not the other, we will not reach it.
I am not saying that speedos are the most attractive choice for every man out there, and come on, not every gal can rock that itty bitty yellow polka dot bikini, but if we’re going to be body positive and pro-choice, then that has to include everyone.
As for my Italian colleague, for those of you who were wondering, I have not seen him in his speedo, but, let’s be honest, he’s Italian; I’m sure his girlfriend is very happy. 😉 teehee
Thanks for reading, take care. xoxo