Swedes fight for right to swim topless (…in November?)

// 12 November 2007

Groups of feminists have been swimming topless in pools across Sweden, in wildcat protests against both official policy and social expectation dictating that women must cover up, reports The Local.

I know those Swedes are tough, but they must be indoor pools. Surely?

At any rate, they have an interesting perspective on the issue:

Outraged by what they regarded as discrimination, a group of women in southern Sweden made a show of solidarity by establishing the Bara Bröst network. (The name translates both as ‘Bare Breasts’ and ‘Just Breasts’.)

“We want our breasts to be as ‘normal’ and desexualized as men’s, so that we too can pull off our shirts at football matches,” spokeswomen Astrid Hellroth och Liv Ambjörnsson told Ottar, a magazine published by the Swedish Association for Sexuality Education.

My first instinct, I must admit, is to say that this isn’t the most important issue in the world. But the reply of the swimming pool spokesperson does reveal a bit of sexism, I think:

“There are three reasons for this. First, there is a security aspect, then there is a hygiene issue and finally there is what we call ‘prevailing manners and customs’. It is above all this last point which is important here,” she added.

Hygiene?! Really?

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