In a show of solidarity, Pink has offered to cover the fine the Norwegian women’s handball team received last week for refusing to compete in bikini bottoms during a game in the Euro 2021 tournament.
For those who are like, “Huh?” or “What?” allow me to explain: It’s exactly what it sounds like. Last Monday, the European Handball Federation slapped the team with a roughly $1,770 fine—150 euros per player—after the women competed in shorts instead of the mandatory bikini bottoms. And yes, they are mandatory. According to the New York Times, the International Handball Federation regulations state that women players must wear bikini bottoms “with a close fit and cut on an upward angle toward the top of the leg” no longer than four inches. The only requirements for male players’ uniforms are that their shorts be four inches above the kneecap and not “too baggy.”
Enter Pink. “I’m VERY proud of the Norwegian female beach handball team FOR PROTESTING THE VERY SEXIST RULES ABOUT THEIR ‘uniform,’” the singer tweeted on Saturday. “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.”
In fact, the Norwegian Handball Federation—are you keeping track of the federations?—has said it will pick up the tab for the women players. The Federation has also backed the team’s protests against the rule, which date back to 2006. In the last decade-plus “nothing has happened,” Kare Geir Lio, head of the Norwegian Handball Federation, told the Times. But the team is reportedly slated to submit an official motion to the International Handball Federation in November, requesting that the organization allow women players to wear shorts.
These are the sorts of rules sports federations appear to enforce just for the sake of enforcement—though not dress code related, a similar impulse was on display in May, when Naomi Osaka was hit with $15,000 in fines for refusing to speak to press at the French Open. When athletic institutions insist that “the rules are the rules” it’s usually women and women of color who suffer. Pink’s show of support might not be enough to change the Handball Federation officials’ minds about women’s uniforms—but it can’t hurt either.