• Sweden edition
 
Women fight for right to bare breasts
Photo: Ted Callander, Unknown

Women fight for right to bare breasts

Published: 20 Sep 2007 12:32 GMT+02:00
Updated: 20 Sep 2007 12:32 GMT+02:00

Two female students are demanding their rights after they were banned from bathing topless at a swimming pool in Uppsala. If girls are forced to wear bikinis, boys should be too, one of the women told The Local.

Ragnhild Karlsson, 22, and her friend Kristin Karlsson, 21, live on the same corridor in a student residence in the university town. On September 5th they took a trip to the Fyrishov leisure complex, where they decided to hop in for a swim without their bikini tops.

Though the pool was full of swimmers, a female lifeguard eventually caught sight of the bare-breasted women and reached for her whistle.

"We had been swimming for a while without anybody paying us any attention when the guards called us to the side and told us to either put on a top or leave. So we left," Ragnhild Karlsson told The Local.

On Wednesday, the two women sent a letter to the Equal Opportunities Ombudsman explaining that they saw no reason for men an women to be treated differently. If anything, a bikini top could be accused of drawing unnecessary attention to a woman's breasts.

"It's a question of equality. I think it's a problem that women are sexualized in this way. If women are forced to wear a top, shouldn't men also have to?"

The two friends said they were surprised when they were approached by the lifeguards.

"We thought it was against the law to treat people differently," said Ragnhild Karlsson, who is studying to be a speech therapist. Her friend Kristin aims to practice occupational therapy.

Staff at the pool later referred to studies showing that crimes of a sexual nature were particularly common in swimming pool environments.

"Surely women should be allowed to decide for themselves whether they need protecting. And is it not strange that women should somehow bear responsibily for sex crimes carried out by men," said Ragnhild Karlsson.

But a spokeswoman for the leisure complex stood by their decision not to allow the women to bathe topless.

"Swimming pools generally require men to wear swimming trunks and women to wear either bikinis or one piece swimsuits," Inger Grotteblad told The Local.

"There are three reasons for this. First, there is a security aspect, then there is a hygiene issue and finally there is what we call 'prevailing manners and customs'. It is above all this last point which is important here," she added.

She also pointed out that the swimming complex always needed to bear in mind the preferences of its guests.

"We have a lot of visitors here, ranging from families with children to the elderly. We also have people from different ethnic backgrounds. We want all of them to be able to enjoy themselves when they come here.

"This issue is new to us and we welcome the debate. It is important that everybody gets to voice their opinion, from families with children to naturists, older people and Muslim women. We have asked our governing body to look into this and hope they will come back to us with recommendations," said Grotteblad.

Paul O'Mahony (paul.omahony@thelocal.se)

Don't miss...X
Left Right
Today's headlines
Jammed truck snarls Stockholm rush hour
Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

Jammed truck snarls Stockholm rush hour

PICTURES: A truck got wedged inside a tunnel in central Stockholm on Thursday, with authorities concerned the accident may have damaged cables in the tunnel's ceiling. READ () »

Kids in Victorian drag mark Swedish Easter
A Swedish Easter witch holding daffodils. File photo: TT

Kids in Victorian drag mark Swedish Easter

In India, I'd notice Easter only from the traffic jam outside the churches, but here witches, egg hunts, and feathers mark the Christian holiday. The Local's Deepti Vashisht brings you the various shades of Swedish Easter. READ () »

Swedish MP ordered chemtrail probe
Chemtrails?: Shutterstock.

Swedish MP ordered chemtrail probe

A Swedish MP who launched an official government investigation into the existence of chemtrails tells The Local why he thinks Swedes deserve the truth, even if it may leave some conspiracy theorists unsatisfied. READ () »

PM pleads ignorance of Vattenfall's Nuon bid
Fredrik Reinfeldt answers the constitutional affairs committee's questions. Photo: TT

PM pleads ignorance of Vattenfall's Nuon bid

Sweden's prime minister on Thursday said Vattenfall itself, not its owners the Swedish state, had responsibility for the loss-making Nuon deal. READ () »

'Kockums submarine raid may be illegal': lawyer
Photo: TT

'Kockums submarine raid may be illegal': lawyer

A Swedish lawyer says the Swedish military may have broken the law when it raided the Malmö premises of German defence giant Thyssen Krupp. READ () »

Good weather could blight Easter traffic
Easter traffic two years ago on the E4 motorway. File: Jessica Gow/TT

Good weather could blight Easter traffic

Traffic experts have cautioned Swedes heading to the countryside for what should be a sunny Easter, warning that the most serious accidents often take place when the weather is clement. READ () »

Saab offers Gripen lease to Malaysia
Jas Gripen jets in flight. File photo: TT

Saab offers Gripen lease to Malaysia

Swedish defence giant Saab has offered to rent out fighter jets to Malaysia. READ () »

What's On in Sweden

What's On in Sweden

Check out what's happening with The Local's guide to the main attractions and events in Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö - in association with DoToday. READ () »

Ica pulls contested Easter commercial off TV
Grossed out Ica woman at Easter dinner. Screengrab from Ica

Ica pulls contested Easter commercial off TV

A Swedish supermarket has decided to withdraw its Easter commercial, after Christians complained it made a mockery of communion - "They crossed the line." Sweden's advertising watchdog will now look into the case. READ () »

Dismemberment killer gets sentence cut
The search and rescue operation in northern Sweden. File photo: TT

Dismemberment killer gets sentence cut

The 22-year-old man convicted of murdering his ex-girlfriend in northern Sweden had his sentence reduced on Wednesday, in part due to his "peculiar personality". READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 16
Politics
Who's the prime minister's heir?
Alfie Atkins
Society
Are children's books the key to families integrating in Sweden?
National
'Sweden Dem protests cater to party's martyr image'
National
'Swedish research grants were fantastic, but now it's like Australia'
Society
Only in Sweden: The ten problems you'd never encounter elsewhere
National
Swedes stopped to take my picture, but didn't look me in the eyes
Business & Money
A swipe of the hand replaced cash and cards in Lund
YouTube
Features
Video: Oliver Gee finds out how to embrace The Swedish Hug
TT
National
Abba duo hints at reunion
Private
National
Flash mobs hug it out across Sweden
Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 11-13
Advertisement:
TT
Politics
Swedes to give six-hour workday a go
TT
Society
Aussie choir member wows Abba in Sweden
YouTube
Society
Stockholm magic a surprise YouTube hit
Fastighetsbyrån
Society
Gallery: The Local's Property of the Week
Private
Society
Swedes find 200-year-old gravestone in living room
Stockholm School of Economics
Sponsored Article
Why a bachelor's degree is no longer enough
Deepti Vashisht
Features
Deepti Vashisht dissects the magic of Sweden's personal ID number
Shutterstock
Society
Ten signs you've been in Sweden too long
Society
Jimi Fritze heard every word when doctors discussed taking his organs
Society
A Swedish farmer explains why the new bestiality ban is 'pointless'
Society
'Blondes have more brains': Swedish study
TT
Society
VIDEO: Leaked 'Save Slussen' film goes viral
ESL
Sponsored Article
Learning Swedish the easy way
Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Blog Update: The Diplomatic Dispatch

28 October 15:16

The Green Growth Group Summit »

"Today on the 28 October in Brussels, a large group of key EU Ministers and business people, including UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Edward Davey, and Swedish Environment Minister Lena Ek, will meet to discuss green growth. They all have a stake in resolving a challenge which, although it is crucial..." READ »

748
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com