Wimbledon is facing mounting pressure to rethink its strict dress code after being accused of “turning a blind eye” to the anxiety players face having to compete in traditional white during their term.
On Saturday, a small-scale protest will be held outside the main gates of the All England Club, to coincide with the day of the women’s singles final, by a group of campaigners who say the ‘archaic’ dress tradition is hindering female players. . .
Protesters will wear tailored skirts with a “blood red” skort underlay, inspired by Tatiana Golovin, the Russian-born French former player who sparked a flurry of headlines when she wore red shorts under her skirt at the championships. 2007. The skirts are designed to highlight the impracticality of wearing white clothing for menstruating players and follow a campaign launched this week calling on Wimbledon to “address the dress code”.
“These archaic rules were written years ago by men and have become stricter and stricter over the years. It’s about time they were rewritten with menstruation in mind,” said Gabriella Holmes, 26, an avid recreational tennis player and one of the co-founders of the campaign.
“We are not asking for drastic changes. Maybe the Wimbledon board can sit down and make a couple of amendments that take into account the fact that women compete on their term and it increases their pressure when they perform at this level.
Holmes suggested that an easy solution might be to allow players to wear official Wimbledon colors under white skirts: “If Wimbledon sat down and tackled the code, maybe they would find that skirts in other iconic colors like purple and green are One option”. route they would like to go.
Last month, tennis broadcaster Catherine Whitaker told the Telegraph Sport she would welcome a change to Wimbledon’s dress policy, arguing the rules were out of place given the growing number of athletes speaking out about menstruation.
Earlier this week, British doubles star Alicia Barnett spoke about the stress of having to compete in white on her period. “I think some traditions could be changed,” she said. “I, for one, am a huge supporter of women’s rights and I think having this discussion is just amazing.”
The campaign was launched using a Photoshopped version of the provocative ‘Tennis Girl’ photo, showing a female player without underwear, taken by British photographer Martin Elliott in 1976. The adapted image shows a woman posing with ‘Wimbledon whites’ to reveal a blood stain. “The idea was to turn this original image that objectifies women into one that draws attention to the struggles real ‘tennis girls’ face when playing sports during their period,” said Holly Gordon, 28, co-founder of the campaign. “It’s about showing solidarity with elite athletes who often feel they can’t talk about the Wimbledon dress code because of their careers.”
A Wimbledon spokesperson said: “Prioritizing women’s health and supporting players based on their individual needs is very important to us, and we are in discussions with the WTA, manufacturers and medical teams about ways we can do it. It is an issue we need to think about carefully. It’s easy to jump to conclusions about how you might solve one problem, without considering how you might create a different problem. We’re very concerned about making sure this is something we don’t do.”