A timeline of sexism in Olympics fashion
From floor-skimming skirts to skimpy bikini bottoms:
The sexualisation of women’s bodies has been evident throughout Olympics history
This week, Norway’s women’s beach handball team was fined £1,300 for wearing shorts instead of bikini bottoms during a European Championship match against Spain. The European Handball Federation (EHF), which handed down the fine, deemed their attire “improper clothing” which is “not according to the Athlete Uniform Regulations defined in the IHF beach handball rules of the game”.
The EHF has received widespread backlash for its decision. The team’s captain, Katinka Haltvik, told Norwegian broadcaster NRK that the rule is “embarrassing” while the country’s Handball Federation commended the women for “raising their voices and announcing enough is enough”.
There is a stark difference between what men and women are allowed to wear under the international handball rules. While men wear vest tops and shorts, women must wear bikini bottoms “with a close fit and cut on an upward angle towards the top of the leg”.
Although beach handball will not be played at the Olympics, women competing in beach volleyball will have to follow similar rules, with men being given the option to wear loose tank tops and shorts, while all four of the options for women are figure-hugging.
While the early days of the Olympics dictated that women must cover as much of their bodies as possible, as not to cause a distraction to men, the scale has since shifted to the opposite end of the spectrum, with outfits in recent years overtly sexualising women’s bodies.
As the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony got underway Friday, we’ve compiled a timeline of occasions when women were confronted with sexism at the global sporting event, and whether, if at all, any improvements have been made.
1900: ‘Distracting’ female bodies
Women were allowed to participate in the Olympics for the first time in 1900, when the tournament took place in Paris, France. The 22 women made up just 2 per cent of all athletes and were only invited to compete in five sports: tennis, sailing, croquet, golf and horseback riding. The 997 men
David Goldblatt, author of The Games: A Global History of the Olympics, told Fast Company that personal correspondence between the organisers of the games showed that they were “revolted by the presence of women, even though they had to give in and allow them to participate”.
The main concern was that women’s bodies when playing sport would serve as a distraction to male athletes. In a bid to overcome this, women were forced to wear ankle-length dresses with long sleeves and high necks.
British tennis player Charlotte Cooper Sterry became the first female Olympics tennis champion that summer, winning both the singles and mixed doubles tennis competitions. 1908: Legs out, still modest
Almost a decade later, at the 1908 Olympics in London, women could now show the bottom half of their legs, but uniforms were still extremely modest.
Pictures of Danish gymnasts show them in bloomers, with full-sleeved, crew-neck blouses. The uniforms were a far cry from current regulations, which state that all athletes, both men and women, must wear form-fitting uniforms.
While women’s gymnastics teams attended the games, they were not actually allowed to compete.
Two men’s competitions took place, while women were invited to attend a women’s competitions took place, while women were invited to attend a non-competitive “display” event where they could display their skills. 1912-1932:
Women can swim
The 1912 Stockholm Olympics marked the first year that women were allowed to compete in swimming races.
At the time, women wore swimming costumes that resembled loose unitards, with thigh-length shorts and a tank top style upper body.
By the 1932 games in Los Angeles, US, costumes had become more streamlined and figure-fitting similar to the ones worn by athletes today.
In 2012, Ralph Lauren debuted its Team USA Olympics uniform for the London Games, which featured military-inspired berets and sailor-style neckties. While all members of the USA team wore similar outfits, ensembles at previous opening ceremonies, such as the 1964 Tokyo games, pointed to the wider struggle for women’s equality.
Men’s outfits were often inspired by the military because historically, many of the athletes were former army members, Goldblatt told Fast Company.
“Soldiers had a real advantage. Who else had time to practice to compete, without getting any compensation? So the men were often in these absurd blazers and hats, marching like they would in the army,” he said.
Women, on the other hand, were seen in a white co-ord and matching hat, resembling uniform worn by female air stewards. This disparity in outfits was telling, given that “women had to prove, over and over, that they were strong enough to compete in each event,” Goldblatt said.
The uniform was updated ahead of the London Olympics in 2012 when the International Volleyball Federation added three more options to reflect players’ religious or cultural beliefs.
It was the same year that Boris Johnson, who was mayor of London at the time, published a column in The Telegraph on “20 reasons to feel cheerful about the Olympics”.
One of his reasons was the “semi-naked women playing beach volleyball”, according to Mail Online. “They are glistening like wet otters and the water is plashing off the brims of the spectators’ sou’westers. The whole thing is magnificent and bonkers,” he wrote.
Under the updated rules, women may now wear either a two-piece bikini, a one-piece swimming costume, or shorts with either a T-shirt or tank top. However, the briefs must still be “on an upward angle towards the top of the leg” and both shorts and tops must be “form-fitting”.
British Paralympian Olivia Breen performing a long jump Charlotte Cooper Sterry became the first female Olympic tennis champion at the 1900 Olympics.
Showcasing the epitome of elegance and craftsmanship
Pure Gold by Tiesh has a well renowned Sri Lankan actress Yehali Tashiya Kalidasa as its brand ambassador. She is a multi-faceted young personality who has made her international debut in Pakistani cinema, and perfectly embodies the essence of the Pure Gold by Tiesh brand.
Tiesh, recognized for its exceptional craftsmanship and timeless designs, launched thier latest filigree collection under its subsidiary, Pure Gold by Tiesh. Imported from the best jewellery houses in Europe, Italy, Turkey, and Dubai, this collection features a stunning array of Italian 18-karat jewellery and 22-carat gold pieces adorned with pearls.
The newly unveiled filigree collection showcases a range of breathtaking earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and rings that exude elegance, dynamism, and vitality. With pieces available in tri-colours, rose gold, white gold, and yellow gold, Pure Gold by Tiesh has curated this collection with careful attention to detail, catering specifically to the wedding season.
Director Thiyasha expressed the brand’s dedication to excellence, stating, “Our jewellery stands out compared to other bridal jewellers. We are deeply invested in every aspect, from design to quality and craftsmanship. Our customers have repeatedly expressed their satisfaction, stating that our collections surpass those of many leading jewellery houses.”
What sets the filigree collection by Pure Gold by Tiesh apart is its versatility, allowing each piece to be worn in multiple ways. With a commitment to inclusivity, Tiesh caters to diverse cultures and ethnicities, offering something for everyone, from beautiful Hindu brides to Muslim brides and traditional Kandian brides.
Director Ayesh De Fonseka elaborated on the collection’s uniqueness, saying, “Each piece is distinct and one-of-a-kind. What’s truly captivating about this collection is its transformative aspect. We are reintroducing our special ring that transforms into a bangle, a design we first introduced in Sri Lanka in 2015.”
The dazzling filigree collection showcases the sheer intricacy and timeless allure of filigree work through an exquisite range. The inclusion of transformative jewellery adds an innovative touch to the collection, setting it apart from Tiesh’s other offerings. Every piece of jewellery from Tiesh is a fusion of traditional and trendsetting elements, allowing customers to express their individual preferences. This exclusivity distinguishes the brand from its competitors, while the meticulous attention to detail adds a touch of modern luxury to each creation.
“We wanted a collection that could complement any look: beautifully paired with your favourite watch, worn as a classic stack of bangles, or simply worn alone for a more subtle appearance,” Thiyasha further added.
The campaign surrounding the filigree collection not only celebrates the grandeur and glamour of modern Sri Lankan women but also pays tribute to the rich culture and bridal market. Tiesh continues to be at the forefront of the jewellery industry, offering exquisite designs that capture the hearts and desires of jewellery enthusiasts worldwide.
Fellowship and networking
Institute of Hospitality Sri Lanka
The Institute of Hospitality, Sri Lanka International branch had their 31st Annual General Meeting recently meeting at Movenpic Hotel Colombo followed by cocktails and fellowship.
This is an annual event, organised by the President Dr. Harsha Jayasinghe and Executive Committee of the Institute.This event is organised for members of the Institute of Hospitality who have shown their dedication and commitment to the tourist industry.
The evening started with a speech from the President of the Institute Dr. Harsha. He spoke about the challenges ahead for the hospitality industry. Sri Lanka is making progress and economy is slowing signs of settling down. There are many tourists to Sri Lanka and this is definitely positive signs for the country said Director/CEO of National Development Bank Dimantha Seneviratne.
It was an entertaining evening with many members of the hospitality industry in attendance. The General Manager of the Movenpick hotel Roshan Perera gave his unstinted support to make a successful event The Chief Guest Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management Shirantha Peiris also spoke
Denara Eid Durbar
The Denara Vocational Training Institute a subsidiary of the All Ceylon Muslim Women’s Association is for the first time conducting a full day’s programme comprising a mini Eid Bazaar, Sale of items produced by the students of Denara and Cuty Rose and an evening of entertainment. It will be open to the public on Saturday,17th June from 9 am to 5 pm and entrance tickets to the exhibition are priced at Rs. 100/- .
Denara was established in October 2021 where courses in dressmaking, needlework, computer classes, cookery classes and Mehendi Art have been carried out. Despite the economic crisis, and all the challenges endured during these past few years, Denara has been able to still conduct the above classes giving many opportunities to the youth. The Vocational and Training Institute is supported by the All Ceylon Muslin Women’s Association, a reputed charity organization of 70 years history to date!
More than 200 items will be exhibited and available for sale, in addition to bed linen, table linen, cushion covers, cloth bags, and others lovingly crafted with beautiful hand embroidery.
Different to regular exhibitions and sales, a second part is being introduced to the day’s activities where a complete Moghul feel will take over! Ambassador for Turkey Demet Sekercioglu, Ambassador for Turkey in Colombo will grace the exhibition at 4 pm.
A spokesperson from the organising committee said that it will be a festive occasion in keeping with Eid, where an evening of music and games, a fashion show by the students of Denara and Cuty Rose showcasing their creations will be held not only to encourage the talented students who have worked hard to showcase their talents, but also to create an entertaining afternoon. The widely acclaimed Muslim Chorale Choir will make a guest appearance complementing the occasion. The day’s proceedings will conclude with a light dinner where tickets for this are priced at Rs. 3,000/- and already available for sale at the Denara Vocational Training Institute Office located at 191/50, Mangala Gardens, Colombo 5. . Please call on 077 853 9890 for further details.
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