In today’s episode of ‘Men Bossing Women Around’, Gold Coast resident Ian Grace has written to his local mayor Tom Tate, asking for the council to prohibit skimpy G-string bikinis. The letter was published in the Gold Coast Bulletin.
Essentially, it may be 80 years since the bikini was invented, but male opinions about what is ‘appropriate’ for women’s bodies continue to be newsworthy.
His letter was enough to clinch Mr Grace a spot on prime time television, interviewed by The Project about his aversion to women’s swimming garments, as if his view might make women stray from wearing, well, whatever the hell they want.
We ask: where are the women’s opinions? Why is this man so hell bent on telling women right from wrong, and why is he being given a platform? The questions abound.
Apparently, Mr Grace’s own feelings on skimpy bikinis are more important than a woman’s prerogative to dress how she chooses. He says skimpy bikinis make him ‘uncomfortable’ despite the “pleasant view” and hopes to make it prohibited for women to wear them. Mr Grace also includes ‘skintight activewear’ in the list of women’s clothing that he believes is “demeaning and cheapening” to women.
In the letter, Mr Grace recalled encountering a woman walking down a main road in the Gold Coast wearing “the tiniest triangle” who was “as close to naked as anyone could be”. Grace alleges that the woman was looking “defiantly” as she walked by, “daring them to say something”.
Mr Grace’s sentiments continue, clearly of the opinion that women put garments on their body for the sake of men.
He says, “While any man would enjoy ‘the view’, I believe women are very much demeaning and cheapening themselves, portraying themselves as sex objects, then decrying it when men see them that way.”
Adding, “Bare bums can be seen to be every bit as erotic if not more so, than women’s bare breasts – so would it not make sense they are banned identically? If not banned at the beach, very definitely banned the moment they are off the beach.”
Mr Grace spoke to The Project about children aged 11-17 he works with that are “very mature”. He says, “we want them to be proud of themselves, respect themselves and respect others, and I don’t think baring their bums would be in line with that”.
Of course, opinions are welcome when it comes to fashion. However, Mr Grace’s opinion isn’t led by what’s walked down a runway or what is ‘so in right now’. It’s led by his view that women’s body parts are inherently sexual, erotic and made to be admired.
He also says that it’s just being “a bloke” that means a view of a female’s bum looks “nice”. “I see a young lady on the beach, bare bum, yep, great view, and then the same lady serving me coffee later, it just makes me feel uncomfortable,” he says.
That sounds more like someone who is uncomfortable with having seen someone as a sexual object and then realised they’re a multi-dimensional human being.
Mr Grace also took aim at women in business, who apparently cannot be taken seriously if their blouse is revealing.
“I have seen women at fairly high-level networking meetings that were very much exposing their breasts, and you think, well you’ve kind of lost a bit of business credibility straight away,” he says. “Because if you’re needing to do that to get attention…I’d rather talk to you about what you have to offer in business.”
When asked if he has respect for women wearing revealing clothing, he says it’s not that he has ‘no respect’ just that he has trouble “taking [them] seriously”.
Of course, Mr Grace’s comments have been met with a wave of backlash from intelligent, self-respecting, self-confident women who enjoy wearing the clothes that make them feel best.
Some men even jumped into the comments to protect women’s interests.
“Ian needs to control himself when women wear attire that they enjoy in appropriate settings like the beach or gym,” one wrote. “And if Ian thinks a woman is being provocative by wearing a normal blouse in a business meeting, then the problem is in the eye of the beholder,” one shared on X (formerly Twitter).
“Several minutes of “tv” that we endured to witness two irrelevant boomer wowsers express their sexism… Well done @theprojecttv,” another commented.
“I think it’s best for everyone if Ian stays away from the beach. And from TV,” one wrote in a tongue-in-cheek comment, while another added, “Old conservative man wanting to control women’s bodies …. I see that theme in so many societies nowadays …. same men cry “freedom” and “rights” for their own opinions.”
The public even took aim at The Project for broadcasting his views without offering much of an alternative perspective, “On 18 April 1930 the BBC news reader announced “There is no news today.” Very honest and so much better than resorting to this tripe,” a user wrote on X.
The long and short of it is that if a woman chooses to wear something that is skintight or reveals some skin, that does not equal them either wanting to be sexualized, or trying to catch men looking to ‘defy’ them. In fact, it probably just means she wants to wear the damn bikini.
In a nutshell, leave us and our bikinis alone.