The Norwegian women’s beach handball team was fined for wearing shorts that were too short.

The Norwegian women's beach handball team was fined for wearing shorts that were too short.
The Norwegian women's beach handball team was fined for wearing shorts that were too short.

In July 2021, a widely circulated image properly and honestly depicted the differences in beach handball clothing standards for men and women.

In the summer of 2021, the Norwegian women’s beach handball team rekindled a debate over obvious gender disparities in different sports’ uniform standards, including their own.

The sport’s regulations demand women to wear “bikini bottoms” with a “close fit” and a “midriff design” top, while males can wear sleeveless tank tops and shorts, as seen in the schematics below, which are derived from the International H2O Federation.

The Norwegian women protested the double standards by refusing to wear bikini bottoms during their European Championships match against Spain on July 18, and the European Handball Federation fined them each €150 ($177).

A popular article on the internet site Reddit promised to elegantly and bluntly show the inequalities involved in the male and female beach handball uniform laws, as part of a wave of indignation against the uniform requirements and the penalties enforced.

An image of what seemed to be a men’s beach handball team wearing tank tops and shorts was placed beneath a caption that read “Men’s beach-handball teams uniform vs. the women’s outfit.”

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That image was genuine, and it depicted Norway’s men’s and women’s beach handball teams, respectively, before their June 2019 games versus Swedish opponents. As a result, we’ve given it a “True” grade.

Niclas Dovsjö, a photographer from Ulricehamn, Sweden, took the photo on June 7, 2019. The Norwegian Handball Federation shared it online and on Facebook, and it may be viewed in its original context below:

The men of Norway lost their match against Sweden, while their female counterparts triumphed. The photograph sparked uproar in Norway at the time, demonstrating the stark difference in uniform standards between male and female competitors.

In reaction to criticism of the rules and the treatment of the Norwegian women’s team, EHF President Michael Wiederer stated that the EHF “would do everything it can to guarantee that a change in athlete uniform standards can be adopted,” but that such a change “could not happen overnight.”

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