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Unwritten rules of wearing swimwear in public revealed

We’re a nation of beach-lovers – but while you can wear your cossie to splash in the water, it turns out, you daren’t venture off the sand.

Despite living in a country famed for its breathtaking beaches and sweltering weather, the vast majority of Australians have strong views on swimwear etiquette, new data shows.

While you might not think twice about nipping into Coles or Woolies in your bikini (or Speedos for that matter), it seems there are unwritten rules about how far you can stray from the beach before you’re opening yourself up to intense judgment from others.

A staggering 73 per cent of Aussies believe those wearing an itsy-bitsy two piece or the iconic Budgy Smuggler shouldn’t wander far from the beach, results from news.com.au’s The Great Aussie Debate revealed.

Exactly what distance from the sand proves “unacceptable” caused quite the divide among participants, but those who waste no time judging other people’s outfit choices have been split into three categories.

While 19 per cent said it was fine to go for a stroll in your bikini, but the furthest you could wander was a block from the beach.

The harshest cossie critics among us, which made up 24 per cent of the votes, stated you can only strip down to your togs if you’re on the sand.

A further 30 per cent argued it wasn’t offensive to cross the road to buy an ice cream or a cold drink, but stipulated you’d need to get straight back to your beach towel – otherwise you’d crossed a social line.

While 19 per cent said it was fine to go for a stroll in your bikini, but the furthest you could wander was a block from the beach.

Thankfully, not everyone had fierce views on the unspoken rules of swimwear-wearing, with the remaining 27 per cent of Aussies arguing people should be able to wear their togs anywhere they’d like.

Interestingly, the demographic of those who gave the green light to flash the flesh were made up of 32 per cent men, 19 per cent women and 49 per cent were those who identified as “non-binary or other”.

Women had the highest votes in the three categories that restricted bikini wearing outside of a beach setting – notably leading the charge on: “If you’re off the sand, on with some clothes please.”

This could be because it is women who more commonly face criticism over their outfit choices, while men don’t cop the same flak.

This photo of an Aussie woman wearing a G-string bikini in a Bali convenience store angered many.

A woman in the UK was once kicked out of a store for wearing a bikini underneath a sarong. Amidst her fury at being given the boot, she called out the double standards created by patriarchal practices.

“Get a grip. Men walk around in vests showing just as much skin,” she stated at the time.

In 2019, a photo of a bikini-clad woman in a servo while on holiday in Bali was taken by a “horrified” Australian and shared on Facebook, along with the caption: “Shame on you! PS the front parts were even smaller than the back.”

Many labelled the decision to wear the G-string cossie as “trashy” and “feral” – while others accusing the poster of being “creepy” and “shaming” the woman by taking a picture and sharing it without her permission.

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