If you were to picture in your mind someone wearing a one piece swimsuit, an image of a woman would probably come up, but never a man. Since it is almost exclusively women that wear one piece swimsuits, it feels weird to imagine a man wearing one. Why is this the case? Are men not allowed to wear one piece swimsuits as well?
Men can wear one piece swimsuits, though they generally don’t. The reason that men generally don’t wear one piece swimsuits is because our society has deemed it only socially acceptable if a woman wears one. A man wearing a one piece swimsuit may be thought of as being gay or transgender, a cross-dresser, or a pervert. Depending on where they live in the world, being seen as any of the aforementioned can cause them to be insulted, assaulted, or both.
Despite what our society thinks of men wearing a one piece bathing suit, technically it is not illegal or against any rules (at least in the West). There is nothing wrong about a man wearing a one piece except what others think about him. That said, there are some legitimate instances where such behavior should not be tolerated.
For instance, a man wearing a particularly skimpy woman’s one piece swimsuit for the sake of being an exhibitionist or for sexual pleasure, especially if there are unsuspecting and unconsenting people around, particularly children, deservedly should be stopped.
If you are a man wearing a one piece bathing suit for legitimate reasons, such as extra UV protection, hiding flaws on your body, for better performance, and for gender affirmation, then as long as it covers up your private parts, it should be okay. It’s not okay to be an exhibitionist or a pervert.
Is it gay for a man to wear a one piece swimsuit?
To be clear, a one piece swimsuit technically can refer to a lot of things. Today, “one piece swimsuit” has become synonymous with a swimming garment that mostly women wear. What we are specifically referring to is the most common design for them which resembles a sleeveless leotard that exposes most of the legs.
Some one piece swimsuits are longer, partially covering the upper leg at about the same length as swim briefs, but those are not the one piece swimsuits that people have a problem with. It’s the sleeveless leotard kind that a man cannot wear without experiencing backlash. Technically, it is not against the law or any rules for a man to wear one, yet few men dare to do it. Why?
Because society has deemed one piece swimsuits to be acceptable only for a woman to wear. It’s the same reason why men generally don’t wear dresses, pantyhose, or high heels unless they are okay with being labeled. Technically, men are allowed to wear them, but they fear the repercussions.
Even though they can’t get in trouble with the law, they can definitely get in trouble with other people. Despite the strides made in LGBTQ+ rights across the world recently, homophobia is still rampant, and the world is probably not ready to see one piece bathing suits being worn by men.
If you are willing to open your mind for a moment, then you will realize that technically clothing has no gender. It’s literally just fabric worn over one’s body, how does it mean that someone is gay? In a similar vein, the color of the clothing should not indicate one’s sexual orientation or gender identity either; color and clothing has no meaning except what we give it.
And unfortunately, we as a society seem to have given it such a restrictive meaning; that certain clothing or colors are for women, and others are for men. And ignoring these social norms is grounds for humiliation, shame, or even physical assault.
Are men who wear one piece swimsuits perverts?
There are some legitimate reasons why a man could wear a one piece swimsuit. There are also some bad ones, like getting sexual gratification by letting others see them in a revealing swimsuit or being an exhibitionist in general. This is made worse if you are in a public area where there are young children and families around.
As you can see, the context matters a lot. Some swimsuits are skimpier than others, and some swimsuits have less fabric on the sides to show off more of the legs. Some swimsuits also don’t have enough fabric to cover the buttocks, and these ones can also ride up and get swallowed up between the cheeks. These types of swimsuits are simply too revealing and any man wearing such a swimsuit is probably doing it for sexual gratification.
What is the consensus on men wearing one piece swimsuits?
Those who are narrow-minded, quick to judge, and homophobic would respond poorly. Many would simply give strange looks but not say anything. Some might hurl insults or even get violent.
That said, there are also many who are open-minded and tolerant. As long as you are covering up your private parts, wearing a one piece swimsuit in the appropriate context (i.e. the swimming pool or the beach), and not going out of your way to bother people, then who cares?
Most people are too busy doing their own thing that they probably won’t even notice. And if they do, a lot of them will probably do a double take just because they aren’t used to seeing a man in a one piece swimsuit, but then they will go about their day because it’s none of their business or they just don’t give a damn.
Why might a man want to wear a one piece swimsuit?
If you believe that clothing has no gender (and unfortunately too few people hold this view), then you might want to wear a one piece swimsuit just because. You don’t need any reason other than you think it looks nice and it feels good to wear.
For inspiration, have a look at Mark Bryan, a happily married straight man with three children and a love of Porsches. What he loves even more than Porches is wearing skirts and high heels daily. No, he is not mentally ill, not gay or suffering an identity crisis, and not a pervert. His inspiration is that he likes how powerful women dress, and feels that he should be able to wear the same type of clothing because clothing has no gender.
Just take a look at some of the outfits he wears to work. The man rocks those high heels and skirts better than most women. It’s clear that he puts a lot of thought into what he wears. He has been wearing skirts and high heels daily for over four years, bravely challenging gender norms the whole time and occasionally putting up with the odd insult here and there.
If you agree that clothing does not have a gender, then a man should be able to wear a one piece swimsuit (the sleeveless leotard kind) for no reason other than he likes to.
It’s weird that a lot of women complain that their swimsuits are too revealing when Speedos exist. If a man were to wear a one piece swimsuit instead of a Speedo, they would actually be covering up more of their body, not less.
This is where societal expectations on clothing becomes contradictory. So if a man can wear a Speedo in public and not be labeled as gay, an exhibitionist, or a pervert, why is it that as soon as he dons a one piece swimsuit, he is labeled as all of the aforementioned?
If a man who normally wears Speedos decides he wants to wear a one piece swimsuit because it offers more coverage, then you should be praising and thanking him for being so progressive. Just like women, not all men want to go topless either.
Swimsuits have an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) which is a number that indicates how much UV radiation it blocks. However, a swimsuit only offers UV protection over areas that it covers.
Since most men’s swimwear only covers their lower body, their upper body doesn’t have any sun protection. Sure, they could wear a rash guard, but that can feel restrictive. A one piece swimsuit could offer them some upper body sun protection without restricting their arm movements.
Cover up flaws
Not everyone wants their body to be seen for personal reasons. They could have a scar, rash, tattoos, skin folds or stretch marks, or any number of things that they would rather cover up. A one piece swimsuit could cover up most of one’s torso and hide these things from being seen.
If someone’s assigned sex at birth was male and now she is in the process of transitioning, then wearing clothing that is designated women’s clothing can help her with gender affirmation and lead to a smoother transition. Transitioning is rough enough, so if wearing a women’s one piece swimsuit helps you during this inbetween period, then go for it.
Can males wear a one piece swimsuit? Yes, men are technically allowed to wear a one piece swimsuit. Is it normal? No, it’s not the norm, but perhaps it should be. Unfortunately, until society recognizes that clothing has no gender, or at the very least, that looking down on men for wearing a one piece swimsuit is ridiculous because it offers more coverage than Speedos, then it will never be the norm.
In fact, there are many benefits to wearing a one piece swimsuit such as more modesty, UV protection, the chance to cover up flaws on their body they aren’t comfortable showing, and for gender affirmation or because it looks fashionable to them. As long as what they are wearing covers up their private parts, then it should not be an issue.
That said, there are some men who would wear one piece swimsuits because they want to specifically show off their bulge or their buttcheeks. They want to get sexual gratification from showing off their privates by wearing a more revealing one piece swimsuit, and that is obviously wrong.
At the end of the day, context matters. If a man is wearing a one piece swimsuit at the pool and it covers up his private parts, it shouldn’t be a problem. If a man purposely wears a one piece swimsuit that is overly tight and cut in such a way that it’s more revealing than usual, even if he’s at the pool, then he is a pervert.
Even though logically and technically it should be okay for a man to wear a one piece swimsuit, society will need to change a lot more before it becomes socially acceptable.
Photo Credit: Pierre Castel