CONTROVERSIAL advice to female lifeguards working on the beaches in Gijón (Asturias) has caused a nationwide stir – head of 'baywatch' surveillance at the city council says ladies should wear trousers to avoid sexist comments from men.
Until now, lifeguards of both sexes in Gijón have been wearing swimsuits – men in trunks and women in full swimming costumes or in bikinis – and the latter have been suffering alpha-male comments on social media with pictures of them posted.
In fact, even an internet forum has been set up for men to leer online at lady lifeguards, with some even trying to find out who they are so they can ask them out.
Spokesman for the PP at the city council, Pablo González, said on social media: “Has anyone thought about changing their uniform? Does anyone think that their costumes are an attack on women's dignity – funded by the taxpayer? I would imagine not.”
One Twitter user posted a photo of a girl in a bikini with a sleeveless lifeguard top on over it, from the back so her bottom could be 'admired', with the caption: “Alarm in Gijón: 10 people in near-drowning incidents in one morning. Some of them two or three times each.”
This has been shared by another, female user, who wrote: “Thanks to comments like this, female lifeguards in Gijón now have to wear trousers. Chemical castration is always an option, guys.”
A lifeguard association from the province of Castellón on Spain's east coast wrote: “These ladies are here to save your backsides, not for you to stare at theirs. Full support for our female colleagues in Gijón from here in Castellón.”
Other women on Twitter and Facebook have reposted the unpleasant comments with indignant remarks such as: “Can someone explain to me why the solution for female lifeguards subjected to sexist comments is to change the way they dress?” and, “Those poor women working the beaches in Gijón do not only have to put up with sexism, but they're actually told to wear trousers as though it's their fault.”
Public safety councillor in Gijón, Esteban Aparicio, says the current 'uniform' of bathing suits with a T-shirt over them is not 'compulsory', but 'recommended', since 'trousers and shorts which get wet can be quite uncomfortable for lifeguards trying to rescue bathers'.
“The clothing our council lifeguards wear is not indecent,” Aparicio stresses.
“Any indecency is in the minds of certain individuals.
“I think the whole controversy has been blown out of proportion, because what's important is that the lifeguards save lives – and even the Local Police are allowed to 'relax' their dress in summer.
“The media circus surrounding female lifeguards' clothing is merely a reflection of how primitive society is becoming, but I would imagine that the head of lifeguard services, Flor Palacio, would have taken the appropriate action.
“There have been no orders given to lady lifeguards to either wear 'skimpy' clothing or to 'cover themselves up' – it's leering men who have the problem, not the female workers.”
Photograph by Castellón lifeguards (Socorristes Castelló) on Twitter (@soscastello)