Times caption: Swim England has updated the advice page (TINA STALLARD/GETTY IMAGES)
A piece by Kaya Burgess in today’s Times:
An article advising women with “flabby” stomachs not to wear a bikini and urging women with “boyish” bodies to wear push-up bikini tops while swimming has been removed by Swim England, the sport’s governing body.
The organisation apologised for the article, which has been on its website since 2010, and said that it had been taken down after a student said she was “genuinely shocked” while browsing for advice on taking up swimming again.
Swimmers with a “flabby stomach” were told that they should “choose a loose tankini”, as “bikinis totally expose a jiggly belly and trying to squeeze it into a one-piece will not slim your stomach, only emphasise it”.
Another tip, entitled “Boyish body”, suggested: “Try push-up cups and twisted bandeaux to enhance your cleavage . . . Wear boy shorts and low-leg briefs to add curves to your hips.” Women who are “plus size” will want to “look for swimsuits in darker colours” as they have “an overall minimising effect”, while a high-cut leg will “slim your legs and hips”, the article added.
Simone Webb, a PhD student at University College London, had been thinking of taking up swimming again after not having swum since she was a child. She said: “I came across this page purporting to help women choose swimwear, which you might assume would have lots of helpful info about material etc. Instead, the biggest chunk is devoted to ‘Choosing swimwear by body shape’.”A Swim England spokesman said: “This was an old web page from 2010 that does not represent the views of Swim England. As soon as the article was brought to our attention we removed the page. We want everyone to feel comfortable in the water so they can take advantage of the many benefits swimming has to offer. We apologise for any offence this old information may have caused and hope this won’t deter people from enjoying the water.”
This month Swim England published guidance that states: “Over the years swimwear has come on leaps and bounds. So have polices relating to guidance about what you can wear. It’s important you feel confident and comfortable, even if you’re a land whale, but that you are also safe.” [J4MB: We may have added a few words there, but we think they’re implied.]
Ms Burgess declines to inform us that Simone Webb is a PhD student in a Minnie Mouse subject, Gender Studies. Her UCL web page is here. The image on that page is below. I imagine she has the nickname “Smiler” among her fellow students.
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