Looking at swimwear being policed in the 50s, you might think we’ve come a long way as a society.
Case in point? The following Instagram image, posted in October 2020, showing, “A police officer issuing a woman a ticket for wearing a bikini on a beach at Rimini, Italy, in 1957,” according to the caption.
“At the time,” poster of the image, @80sradical claims, “Italy prohibited the revealing bathing suit; it was too immodest to be worn in public.”
Comments from followers skewered this close-minded attitude.
“I’m gonna tell my kids that was Aphrodite and the mortal man is asking for her autograph.”
“What a bunch a nuns.”
“I’m from Rimini and had no idea they issued tickets for something like that on our beaches. Quite the opposite these days!”
However, recent news regarding women being told to cover up suggests we haven’t progressed as far as we like to think.
From Catherine Bampton reportedly being told to change before her Virgin Australia flight this week to Bondi based fitness instructor Martina Corradi being asked to leave a restaurant in December 2020 after an “outfit complaint,” it’s not as if 2020 Australia is light years ahead of 1957 Italy.
These are private companies, granted, with the beach arguably being a different context. But even when it comes to bikinis, society still scrutinises. As another commenter pointed out, “I hope she’s alive somewhere to see how far we’ve come…kind of.”
DMARGE spoked to Jordan Hartley, whose string bikini recently sparked debate over how women’s bodies are policed by others, to ask what her experience has been. The Newcastle-based chef told DMARGE: “My experience is different on every platform, I have a lot of female support on Instagram which I am really grateful for. However, I do receive a lot of hate on platforms like TikTok for my clothing choices. Generally, I would say they feel safe to [comment] whatever they feel like purely because they are behind a keyboard.”
“I 100% believe we have changed since [the 1980s], however the world is ever evolving and all of us have a lot more to learn.”
Is society becoming more open minded though? “Yes, I believe so, in life we are always going to come up against criticism or hate. We will always rub someone the wrong way and that is ok. It is up to people like myself who have the courage to speak up for other women and men to use our voices and continue to be confident in our clothing choices.”
On different standards for dress codes in different places, Hartley said: “I believe this comes down to respect. When I run my meal prep company I show up to work in chef clothes, when I run my software company I go into meetings dressed accordingly and when I run my OnlyFans account I wear a bikini. I dress according to what is respectful and if it is an online platform that I am sharing on, it’s my platform which I can post whatever I feel comfortable with.”
“[Here in Australia] we are lucky enough to be able to walk around barefooted with swimmers on and people wouldn’t look twice. This may not be for everyone however it is the culture that I personally have been brought up in and one that I love.”
“I am not sure I can answer for other generations; everyone is different and entitled to their own opinions. However, this does not mean their opinions need to come across in a nasty, harassing or bullying way. I am of the belief, ‘If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.’”