The moral policing of women’s clothing has always been at the forefront of debate and discussion. While our male counterparts could get away by being bare-chested, females are often shamed and humiliated for wearing their choice of outfit. This is ultimately sexist and the constant moral policing has always occurred regardless of the attire chosen. If one were to wear a miniskirt, there would be comments stating that it’s too revealing. However, if the person chooses to wear a hijab, she would be ridiculed for being too pious, instead. It’s a tough world to live in for our fellow women folk! Why can’t they wear anything they want?
In many instances, the topic of attire for women in the sports arena has also been heavily discussed and in our country, the athlete that has received the most backlash for her sports attire is none other than, Farah Ann Abdul Hadi! Yes, the 27-year-old national gymnast, had been criticised heavily for wearing leotards that are deemed too “revealing”. Albeit the fact that Farah Ann is a 7-time SEA Games gold medallist, this fact definitely does not deter some Malaysians from criticising her attire.
The moral policing of female bodies is a festering disease, what more that of professional athletes.
— Tehmina Kaoosji (@TehminaKaoosji) July 25, 2021
Recently, Independent Broadcast Journalist and Gender Activist, Tehmina Kaoosji, shed some light on the comments posted by some netizens on Facebook below Facebook posts of Team Malaysia, Astro Arena and VOICE. It could be seen that the posts indicated Farah Ann’s position in the Women’s Individual All-Around Event. The comments below the post, however, were quite distressing to read. Instead of focusing on her achievements, these Malaysians chose to ridicule her attire.
For instance, Facebook netizen, Razman Bahari’s commented, “Even Allah does not allow you to succeed because gymnastics is not an appropriate sport for Muslims.”
Tehmina was evidently frustrated with the comments section. This could be seen in her tweet, which reads, “The moral policing of female bodies is a festering disease, what more that of professional athletes. Just another example of how an utter lack of CSE in our schools ensures we have adults sexualising an athletic uniform. Who’s the one embarrassed, now? SMH.”
For the Tokyo Olympics 2020, Farah Ann had self-designed her tiger-inspired leotard with crystals in the shape of a tiger’s profile on the right side of her body — resembling the team’s colours.
This is apparently not the first time our Malaysian gymnast queen earned criticism for her leotard. In the 2015 SEA Games, she was heavily chided for the attire of her winning routine albeit it being an approved one by the FIG (International Federation of Gymnastics). She would have to wear it in order to compete.
It’s 2021 and in the midst of the pandemic, we would have to applaud our national athletes for making our country proud at the Olympics. It’s definitely no easy feat to compete on a global stage. Let’s just stop moral policing our athlete’s attires and focus on supporting them, in our nation’s mission to obtain Malaysia’s first gold medal in the Olympics.