I discovered Roxy swimwear a number of years ago when I was looking for fun, really cute swimsuits that you could actually, you know, swim in. I'm a real swimmer, and while I had worn those old Speedos for a number of years, but honestly, I found them boring. When I went looking for suits, I found plenty of cute prints and even great, green manufacturing, but few suits stood up to the 'romping in the serious ocean waves without coming off' test that I hold all my swimwear to. Until Roxy. Seriously, this brand makes some amazingly well-designed bikinis and one-pieces that are great-looking, feel secure and don't come off without a fight.
When I was shopping for my new bathing suits, I remember trying them out for the first time, figuring that they probably had to wear well, since the company made gear for women surfers, and I'm guessing that connection to surfing as a sport has made their swimwear awesome.
Unfortunately, though, some recent advertising by Roxy flies in the face of what I thought they were about. It's all about being hot in a bikini and not about what amazing things you get to DO in said bikinis. In a Change.org petition that has already garnered more than 20,000 signatures, pro-surfer Cori Schumacher writes:Roxy’s recent advertisement for a surf competition features a 5-time World Champion surfer suggestively undressing without showing us her face, and never actually shows her surfing! This tells young girls it’s more important to be sexy than to be strong or a good surfer.
In the past, Roxy has portrayed itself as a fun, youthful brand and are at the core of women’s surfing culture. Roxy should make young girls feel empowered to surf -- not self-conscious about their bodies.
It's true. The surfer, Stephanie Gilmore, is a serious champion at one of the world's toughest sports, but you wouldn't know that from the way the camera lingers on her butt. I get it, the whole point of the vid is to get watchers to guess who the surfer is — so I'm OK with the fact that they don't show her face — but why don't we get to see her, you know, surfing?
It's a simple test, Roxy. If the same video you made of a woman, would seem really, really weird if you made it with a male surfer (just try that thought experiment) — it's probably stupid and sexist. This one is a perfect example of that.
Why does this matter? I think one of the female surfer commenters on the petition page put it best: "Last week I paddled out into an all male lineup. I was cat called and one guy had the nerve to say. 'You know, I'd probably yield and give you more waves if you surfed in a bikini.' Women have to "fight" for our fair share of space in the waves, and in the world. Roxy should help empower us, not degrade us. I'm totally disgusted by this trailer ... and my experience in the line up shows that the guys eat this sh*t up, and feel legitimized when they degrade female surfers."
At 3 p.m. today, Cori will be delivering the change.org signatures to Roxy's offices and having a chat with them. We'll see if they listen.
Related on MNN:
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- 'Beautiful Body' book aims to show diversity of women's bodies
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