QUITATELA! Spain tells women to SWIM TOPLESS at public pools in campaign to 'fight discrimination'

'The sexualisation of women starts when they are young, and it accompanies us all our lives,' says a video released by Catalonia's Department of Equality and Feminism

QUITATELA! Spain tells women to SWIM TOPLESS at public pools in campaign to 'fight discrimination'
(Representational Image/Getty)
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CATALONIA, SPAIN: The Spanish authorities have reportedly taken a very progressive step towards an equal society as they have announced that women should also have the freedom of swimming without a top in public pools. Catalonia's Department of Equality and Feminism shared a video on Twitter recently, saying: “The sexualisation of women starts when they are young, and it accompanies us all our lives.”

The 33-second-clip was part of an advertising campaign, which was started after some women complained that they were not allowed to go topless inside the pool while males were. Neus Pociello, executive director for the Catalan Women's Institute, said: “We wanted to try to combat the discrimination that women suffer sometimes when they go topless in some situations like swimming pools. Women should have the right to freedom of expression with their bodies.”

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“This discrimination stems from the sexualisation of women's bodies and it starts from a young age when girls are dressed in bikinis, even when they are pre-pubescent. We hope this campaign reverses this,” Pociello added. The newly-released video starts with the cropped footage of a man, whose one nipple is visible with words written over there, saying: “This nipple is free.” Then the clip goes on to show a topless woman covering her nipples with her hand and the text states, “This one is not,” before adding: “It's been that way for as long as you can remember. That you have to cover your breasts is not normal, it is discrimination. That's why, on World Topless Day, we remind you of your rights.”

This comes after Spain's Left wing government introduced its summer advertising campaign, motivating plus-size and aged women to have their time at beaches. The government also used the phrases, like “all bodies are beach bodies” and “summer is ours too” to promote the initiative but it faced criticisms too since many women accused the campaign of lifting their pictures without consent and photoshopping it.

The 60-year-old Juliet Fitzpatrick had undergone a double mastectomy and posed for photographer Ami Barwell bravely in 2019 without anything on top. Fitzpatrick alleged that her altered photo was used on the movement’s poster initiated by Spain's Ministry of Equality and Institute of Women. She claimed: “For me it is about how my body has been used and represented without my permission.”

Barwell also expressed her anger by telling Mail Online: “Given the obvious and crude levels of photoshopping within the advert, I cannot confirm 100 per cent that the base image was taken from my 'Mastectomy' series, without further digital research. There appear to be huge similarities, however the only person that can give absolute clarity on the source of these images, is the so-called 'artist' responsible for the ad campaign. If these images have been used & doctored without my consent, I am outraged.”

Another woman named Sian Green-Lord from Leicester blamed the government for using her photo in the campaign. The 32-year-old explained: “I don't know how to even explain the amount of anger that I'm feeling right now. It's just been brought to my attention by one of my friends that the Spanish Government is using my image on a body-positivity campaign but they have edited out my prosthetic leg. I am literally shaking. I am so angry. There's one thing using my image without my permission. But there's another thing editing my body. My body, with my prosthetic leg. Oh my God, I'm shaking. I literally don't even know what to say but it's beyond wrong,” Green-Lord added.

Arte Mapache reportedly designed the poster and after the outrage, she said in a statement: “Given the - justified - controversy over the image rights in the illustration, I have decided that the best way to make amends for the damages that may have resulted from my actions is to share out the money I received for the work and give equal parts to the people in the poster. I hope to be able to solve all this as soon as possible. I accept my mistakes and that is why I am now trying to repair the damage caused.”

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