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Handball federation changes uniform requirements after 'sexist' bikini rule outcry

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(BASEL, Switzerland) — The International Handball Federation has updated its uniform rules after backlash over its women’s bikini requirements.

After being called out for fining the Norwegian women’s handball team 1,500 euros (about $1,740) for opting to wear shorts — which were listed as “improper clothing” — the governing authority has revised its rules to allow for “short tight pants with a close fit” to be worn, as opposed to the previously required bikini bottoms.

This change comes after some activists and celebrities, such as singer Pink, called the federation’s rules “sexist” and offered to pay the team’s fines.

It also comes after Norway-based Australian activist Talitha Stone and the gender equality organization Collective Shout garnered over 61,000 signatures in support of updating the women’s handball uniform rules.

“I hope this is the beginning of the end of sexism and objectification of women and girls in sport, and that in [the] future ALL women and girls will be free to participate in sport without fear of wardrobe malfunctions and sexual harassment,” Stone said in a Facebook post.

The Collective Shout also shared a before and after image of the uniforms along with the hashtag #letthemwearshorts and a statement saying, “International Handball Federation scraps sexist bikini rule!”

In addition to Norway’s women’s handball team, other top athletes have used their platforms to stand against sexualization in sports.

In July, the German gymnastics team sported full-length leotards while competing in the 2020 Olympics, as opposed to traditional bikini bottoms.

“It’s about what feels comfortable,” three-time Olympian Elisabeth Seitz said in a statement. “We wanted to show that every woman, everybody, should decide what to wear.”

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