The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

German and Norwegian Women Athletes Protest

Aug 2, 2021

The German women’s gymnastic team defied pressure and precedent at the Olympics when they decided to wear full-body unitards instead of the high-cut leotards that women gymnasts are expected to wear.

In the Olympics and elsewhere, women athletes are expected to dress in a way that has nothing to do with the sport they are competing in, nothing to do with respecting them as athletes, and has everything to do with selling them as sex objects. That’s what the TV networks and the leaders of the Olympics and other sports organizations (almost all of whom are men) expect the women athletes to do.

The German women gymnasts weren’t going for it. Maybe they were inspired by some Norwegian women athletes.

Recently, members of the Norwegian women’s beach handball team were fined for wearing “improper clothing” while playing in a tournament in Europe. The Norwegian women refused to follow the dress code that is spelled out specifically for women athletes—“midriff-baring tops and bikini bottoms with a close fit and cut on an upward angle toward the top of the leg, with a maximum side of 4 inches”. Seriously! The dress code is written exactly like that! But the Norwegian women decided they were athletes and not sex objects and they wore the same kind of shorts that the men are allowed to wear.

Good for them.