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The Problem of Clothing in Sports

By Ya Han Hsu

Dear Vanessa Friedman,

In the report, you told the readers about how the problem of sports’ clothing had sparked discussion again by the Germany gymnastics team in the Olympic games and its history.

At first, I thought that gender equality in sports is only when females are expected to wear less than men in certain sports events such as gymnastics. However in other kinds of sports like swimming, male are actually criticized more for their bodies than women. As I read on, I realized that it doesn’t matter if they are male or female, the problem is athletes are expected to wear suits even if they don’t like it.

However, as you wrote, Jennifer Kessy said that the players refer to their uniforms as “competition suits” rather than “bikinis”. There are athletes who feel comfortable in their original suits. It is not about wearing longer pants or shorter ones, it is about what they want to wear, what they feel comfortable in. I think the whole problem is the outfits are limited, and there are expectations for them.

That leads to another problem-- what if athletes wear outfits beyond our culture? For example, maybe some people think that clothing itself is a burden. When that happens, should others stop them? The ‘culture’ varies from person to person, some people think that women who are not wearing skirts aren’t appropriate.

I believe we still have a long way to go to achieve the freedom of clothings for not only athletes, but everyone. However, people are becoming more accepting of the clothings, and society is changing. We are going forward.

Thank you for writing this report. I had a deep thought about gender equality as I read this article.

Ya Han Hsu

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