A national debate has been ignited by one man after he publicised strong opinions about what he believes women should not wear if they have any "respect" for themselves, with many in agreement but others branding him "sexist".
Ian Grace is the founder of a youth charity and penned a letter to Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate to ban G-string bikinis after noticing many females — both teens and adults — attending his charity events in a bikini with their "bums out".
"Two family events away from the beach, you've got these almost naked young ladies there with their bare bum [out] completely. Enough is enough," he told Yahoo News Australia on Monday.
When Yahoo News questioned whether he held these opinions specifically for minors, he responded by saying it was "not a particular age group" he was referring to, believing all females should be banned from wearing G-string bikinis.
Speaking on 2GB radio, Grace said men in Budgy Smugglers — tight fitting bathing briefs which have become popular with young Aussie men in recent years — are not "particularly erotic" but women who wear small bikini bottoms were "demeaning" and "cheapening" themselves.
"A lot of people would say that their [women's] bums are as erotic, if not more so, than their breasts but they're not allowed [to be on display]," he told Yahoo News, questioning why "bare bums" were allowed.
'Have the decency to cover up', Grace says
His proposal to ban G-string bikinis was first shared in the Gold Coast Bulletin, but Grace has since admitted to Yahoo News it "will never happen". Instead he believes anyone who chooses to have their bare bum exposed at the beach should "cover up" when leaving.
"Literally on the beach is fine, but off the beach, just have the decency to cover up," he said.
"I just don't think it engenders respect from either side when you literally show everything. It’s respect for others as well as yourself," he continued. "I think anyone who does that decides to do it… psychologists call this sort of stuff 'signalling'. It's like, 'What are you doing that for?'".
When reasons such as comfort or even a sense of empowerment was suggested why females may choose to wear this style of bikini — with women shamed for years if not dressed modestly — Grace doubled down on the belief that "blokes don't walk around wearing thongs up their bum" and therefore women shouldn't either.
Aussies divided over G-string bikini trend
Many said online they were thankful to Grace for calling out the latest "bizarre" fashion trend, calling it "embarrassing" and "gross".
"I am in complete agreement that we don’t want to see it at all, and they are advertising themselves," one person wrote online, while another claimed "class has left the beach".
However many pushed back against his opinions, deeming them indicative of a larger issue at play in society. One online commentator sarcastically called it "great" that a man was telling "women what they want them to wear". "We were born naked, why does nakedness bother so many people?" another asked.
G-string ban dismissed by mayor
Mayor Tate has since dismissed the ban on G-strings, suggesting it is not sensible for men to dictate what women should or shouldn't wear.
"Ian is a brave man messing with women’s fashion,” Mayor Tate said, according to Channel 10's The Project. "One thing I’ve learnt about fashion over the years is that if you try to ban something, or restrict it, that’s a certain recipe to see it double in popularity."
Grace stands by his opinions and believes advocating for appropriate clothing in public shouldn't be a controversial topic.
"I have now become infamous which is not what I really want. I'm not a crusader with this. It's just that's my opinion," he said.
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