Woman ordered out of public baths for swimming costume11/04/2023
Swedes get steamed up over naked saunas: National debate rages after woman was ordered out of public baths for wearing swimming costume
- People have mixed opinions on whether it is acceptable to wear a bathing suit
A national debate has been sparked after a woman was asked to leave a public sauna in Sweden for wearing a swimming costume.
Traditionally, people are supposed to enter saunas wearing nothing at all or just a towel to cover their shame.
But a woman was asked to leave a hot box in Ostersund, 300 miles north of Stockholm, for wearing a swimming suit.
This sparked a lively discussion in the local press but has since transformed into a national argument about tradition and inclusivity.
Traditionally, people are supposed to enter saunas wearing nothing at all or just a towel to cover their shame (stock photo)
Saunas originate from Finland and archaeological evidence suggests there were primitive spas from at least a thousand years ago (stock photo)
A straw poll by Radio Sweden found only 32 per cent of respondents wanted to go into a sauna completely naked while 28 per cent wanted to cover themselves with a towel and 40 per cent would wear trunks or a bathing suit.
Although the sauna has now changed its rules to allow swimsuits, one resident wrote in the Ostersunds-Posten newspaper letters section: ‘The sauna management has made adult men feel comfortable making negative comments about women’s bodies and following them into a sauna only to shout at them about their swimsuits.’
Local news site Teller Report asked locals for their opinions on the debate.
Dan Grundström said: ‘I think people are mature enough to make their own decisions about how to use the sauna.
‘I think it’s a very strange decision. What’s the problem with going to the sauna with a towel on?’
While Martin Gruvelgård added: ‘We have now chosen to let the safety argument carry the most weight and we are therefore changing our rules to allow swimwear in all saunas.’
A straw poll by Radio Sweden found only 32 per cent of respondents wanted to go into a sauna completely naked (stock photo)
The sauna, announcing a change in the rules, said in a press release: ‘Wearing swimwear in the sauna has negative consequences hygienically, but it also means that visitors experience a safer environment.’
Saunas originate from Finland and archaeological evidence suggests there were primitive spas from at least a thousand years ago.
Professor of cultural anthropology at Uppsala University in Sweden Annika Teppo told The Times: ‘Those who think it’s a sexual space are making a really huge social mistake with consequences.
‘In some countries, there are places where saunas are nothing but brothels, but in Finland that idea is unthinkable.
‘If you feel shy, you don’t have to go with the opposite sex in use mixed saunas, and if you go with the opposite sex you’re not supposed to look.
‘You become very good at not looking at naked bodies and focusing on the faces.’
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