Music superstar Pink took a stand on social media to support the Norwegian women’s beach handball team after they were issued a fine for refusing to wear a bikini-bottomed uniform they felt was sexist and inappropriate.
The sport’s governing authority ruled the athletes had worn non-regulation shorts during the team’s bronze medal victory over Spain in the Euro 2021 tournament last week. In a show of solidarity, Pink took to Twitter after learning the women’s team received the 1,500 Euro fine (approximately $1,765), or 150 Euros per player, from the European Handball Federation.
“I’m VERY proud of the Norwegian female beach handball team FOR PROTESTING THE VERY SEXIST RULES ABOUT THEIR ‘uniform’,” the Grammy winner said in her post.
I’m VERY proud of the Norwegian female beach handball team FOR PROTESTING THE VERY SEXIST RULES ABOUT THEIR “uniform”. The European handball federation SHOULD BE FINED FOR SEXISM. Good on ya, ladies. I’ll be happy to pay your fines for you. Keep it up.
— P!nk (@Pink) July 25, 2021
After Pink shared her support to her more than 31 million followers, many others shared the post to bring the team’s position more attention. In response, the Norwegian beach handball team posted its thanks on Instagram.
“Thank you so much for all the support,” they wrote. ‘We really appreciate all the love we have received. You’re the best.”
Legendary women’s tennis champion Billie Jean King also expressed her outrage over “the sexualization of women athletes” in a tweet, noting that “The men’s team wears shorts.”
The Norwegian Women’s Beach Handball team is facing fines for wanting to wear shorts instead of bikini bottoms. The bottoms are not to cover “more than 10cm on any sides.”
The men’s team wears shorts.
The sexualization of women athletes must stop. https://t.co/IZEzbrE0Iw
— Billie Jean King (@BillieJeanKing) July 20, 2021
Though Norway’s women’s beach handball team decided to wear the longer shorts at the last minute, they’d been complaining about the discrepancies between the men’s and the women’s uniforms for years. But previously, the athletes didn’t protest out of fear of fines or other consequences, Norway’s Handball Association president Kåre Geir Lio told NRK.
The difference between the men’s and women’s uniforms is clear in this post shared on Facebook by A Mighty Girl — the men are wearing tank tops and board shorts, and the women are wearing bikinis — and the bottoms are tiny!
Following the viral post from Pink, the European Handball Federation president Michael Wiederer issued a statement promising changes in the uniform policy, saying they were taking “steps towards change.” The federation also said it was donating the fine to “a major international sports foundation which supports equality for women and girls in sports.”