By Rachael Hamilton ‘16 and Rosemary McClure ‘13Staff Writer, Editor-in-Chief
You might think that one of the unique perks of a women’s college is theprivilege of tanning topless when and where you want, or at least during women-only hours at the pool. There are many rumors about what constitute acceptable dress at Sallie Tiernan Field House. What they may not realize is that the Field House has a fairly restrictive dress code already in place.
According to Field House director Tamsen Burke, the “Field House Policies and Regulations” stipulates that one must wear “appropriate swimwear…which covers breasts, buttocks, genitals and the pubic region”—which means no tanning topless.
According to Burke, there have been requests in the past by students to allow topless tanning during Scripps- or women-only hours; however, the Field House’s main concern is to make sure everyone feels comfortable, and there are occasionally male life guards during the Scripps—women-only—shifts. The only exception is that a student may untie the back of her bikini top while lying on her stomach.
Because swimwear has gendered norms, constructing a dress code for it is problematic. It specifies that breasts and buttocks must be covered, but is unclear how much. Women’s swimsuit bottoms, including standard competitive suits, do not cover 100 percent of one’s butt cheeks. Bikini tops are even more ambiguous—what percentage of my boob has to be covered? 50 percent? Just the nipple?
Breast politics have been in the news plenty as of late. Seattle breast cancer survivor Jodi Jaecks made the news after being told in March she couldn’t swim topless at a city pool, despite having undergone a double mastectomy. She literally doesn’t have breasts. Jezebel subsequently published an article called “Hey Everyone: Stop Giving a Shit About Naked Boobs Already,” highlighting the utter absurdity of censoring, sexualizing, and stigmatizing women’s nipples. Women without boobs or nipples have to wear tops, but men with large pectorals resembling women’s breasts don’t? Got it.
Whether sports bras alone are appropriate workout wear is not another ambiguity. Students may wear sports bras without a T-shirt on cardio equipment or during FitScripps classes such as kickboxing, but everyone is required to wear a T-shirt to use the weight machines. This practice prevents the spread of infectious skin diseases such as staphylococcus bacteria, in accordance with California and Los Angeles County health and safety guidelines.
The Do’s and Don’ts are not posted anywhere in the Field House, and can only be found on the Scripps website. The rules and regulations were made by a committee of administrative members of Scripps College, Harvey Mudd College, and Claremont Mc- Kenna College, as well as members of the Field House staff and representatives from SAS.
What do you think, readers? Head to our website and let us know in the comments: voice.scrippscollege.ed