[This post is specifically about gender and Australian sports uniforms in the Olympics. For our general London 2012 Olympics thread, go here.]
Some of you oldie Hoydens might remember my 2008 post on Australian Olympics uniforms, Women still the sex class in international elite sports. I thought I’d do a bit of an update on gender and our Aussie uniforms for the 2012 Olympics. And – how often does this happen? – things have actually changed for the better, at least in two sports!
Most notably, the regulations dictating that all women playing beach volleyball are required wear teeny-tiny bikinis has changed. Female beach volleyball players will now have the choice of wearing shorts or bikini bottoms. This change ostensibly took place to enable the participation of more women from countries and cultures which restrict the amount of skin women may show; it also allows women from other cultures the opportunity to cover up a little more should they so desire.
The Australian women’s beach volleyball shorts are similar to cycling shorts. But guess what? We still get the “cheeky” butt shot for the publicity photos. Somehow I’m reminded of the “brokeback” tits-and-arse shows on comic book covers.
Men, however, will still be participating in loose tank tops and loose long shorts – no Speedos or bare chests for them. There’s no Australian men’s beach volleyball team this Olympics, but other countries’ uniforms are expected to be similar to these of the Brazil team last Olympics:
The other noticeable change has been in the Australian women’s basketball uniforms.
Daily Life expands [emphases are mine]:
As they fight for more exposure, female Olympians worldwide will be more covered up at this year’s London games.
Or, in the case of Australia’s Opals basketballers – who since the Beijing Olympics in 2008 have been lobbying for uniforms that decrease, rather than encourage, the perve factor – they will ditch the skin-tight bodysuits that left little to the imagination for looser attire. […] When the Opals hit the basketball courts in London, hoping to improve on the silver medal they won at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, they will look much more like their male counterparts. Gone are the figure-hugging one-piece suits that, for some spectators, enhanced the pleasure of watching Australia’s best basketballers. Replacing them will be a far more traditional uniform – worn in the major leagues worldwide and in Australia’s Women’s National Basketball League – of shorts and singlets.
“‘The players have been lobbying for a while to change and we’re really happy now that we’ve got the new uniforms,” Olympics hopeful Jenna O’Hea, a player for the Los Angeles Sparks in America’s WNBA and the Dandenong Rangers in Australia’s WNBL, said yesterday.
”It’s a lot more comfortable with lots of room to move and we really enjoy playing in it.”
Coincidentally, the Australian team’s uniform was launched on the same day the International Volleyball Federation detailed new rules for female beach volleyballers, who are no longer required to compete in the skimpy bikinis that announced the sport’s Olympic debut in Atlanta, in 1996, with a bang.
Here are the old and new Opals uniforms side by side:
The Hockeyroos, however, are still in skin-tight tank tops and short skirts while the men’s hockey team wear loose singlets and shorts. Not only that, but whoever’s in charge of publicity shots appears to be an upskirter. Ew.
Athletics is another huge Olympics sport. What will our competitors be wearing? Well, the women, it seems, will be showing as much skin as possible within existing laws and reasonable boob-corralage: a bra top and short-short hotpants.
While the men will be covering up in loose long tops with bike shorts (the jumper) or loose running shorts (the long distance runner):
I can’t find a picture of the official walking uniforms, but here are recent pictures of Australian long-distance walkers: again, women in tiny bikini-like outfits, and men covered up in loose gear.
Gymnastics is another sport in which the men inexplicably are much more covered than the women. Woman wear high-cut skin-tight leotards while men have full-length trousers:
There are a few sports where things are equal: judo, soccer, cycling, and some others. Here are our cycling teams!
In which sports do men have less skin coverage? Diving, water polo, and some swimmers (though all-over suits are pretty common too). Here are a couple of our divers.
Lastly – guess which uniform was featured front and centre when the official Australian Olympics team uniforms were unveiled? It’s really not that difficult:
What do you think of our team uniforms? What changes would you make, in a world where the survival of some women’s sports didn’t rely on a titillating skin show?
Categories: gender & feminism