Monday, June 27, 2016

My Annual Speedo Rant



Believe it or not, I recently read some comments about swimsuit standards in some parts of Europe, that actually deem "swim trunks" (i.e., the long-legged "board shorts" that are ubiquitous in the United States) unacceptable pool attire - mainly for more-or-less bogus hygiene reasons. Whether or not that's true (and it's plausible, given stereotypes of the speedo's relative acceptance in Europe), it struck me how opposite that was to what I'm used to here in the States, where instead of being pretty much mandatory, speedo-style swimsuits are not only uncommon, but sometimes even restricted! While the only reasonable swimming attire is nudity, I think the European approach makes more sense of the two, because it preserves the notion of getting undressed before going into the water. I cannot believe how prudish and puritanical our standards are here in America. It's insane!

Honestly, if this truly were a free country, then I would not encounter the restrictions against speedos that I've come across. Are speedos for everyone? Of course not! Does that mean that no one should be allowed to wear them? No! Because whether or not you like them should not dictate my decision on whether or not to wear one. Every argument you could possibly make against speedos could also be made about bikinis. But that doesn't stop bikinis from being ultra popular. The only meaningful difference stems from the fact that we live in a patriarchal society dominated by the male gaze. So while it is okay - even encouraged! - for women (and their daughters) to parade themselves around the family pool like pieces of meat, the [straight male] powers that be tend to get uncomfortable when men do the same, and thereby deem it unacceptable.

But what really amazes me is how many women go along with this state of affairs. They'll believe that any woman should be allowed to wear a bikini if she feels empowered by doing so, because of freedom and equality and self-confidence and all that, but that even fit men look ridiculous in speedos (like, really?), and should be banned from wearing them on the off chance that permitting them to do so might encourage a not-so-fit man to also wear one. (I tell you, so-called "women's issues" are not limited to women, yet feminists love ignoring half of the population's concerns). Or that somehow the mere suggestion of the shape of a penis is intrinsically traumatizing (either to children, or to women - who are considered in the victim culture to be just as weak and vulnerable as children) in a way that pointy nipples and camel toe are decidedly not.

Um, right. That's totally fair. Simply put, it is sexist discrimination for speedos to be banned anywhere that bikinis are permitted. And the fact that feminists don't even address this issue - not even as a footnote - when talking about the cultural objectification of women makes me feel not only that feminism is not on my side (which is understandable, since I was not born a woman), but also that feminism is not about equality; rather, it is about female supremacy. Otherwise, they wouldn't be so allergic to a truly egalitarian approach to the issue, and they wouldn't be so quick to dismiss what they perceive as a "male" perspective (in spite of it being very unconventionally so). In conclusion, you may not like speedos, but your preferences have no jurisdiction over my choice to wear them. And banning them is antithetical to equality, so long as women continue to bear nearly all in their bikinis. And if you want to ban those, too, then you're quite simply an enemy of freedom.

2 comments:

  1. I was actually considering buying a speedo. I've started tanning on my lawn so naturally I need as much exposed skin as possible. But I'm worried someone might call the cops, particularly since my yard is clearly visible from the street.

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  2. I say go for it! You might have some trouble if you were talking about a thong (depending on local laws and interpretations), but whatever social or institutional stigma there is against speedos in this culture, they are absolutely not illegal.

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