The rule is over a century old.
Female tennis players and women at the Wimbledon Championships are challenging the tournament's all-white dress code as outdated, especially since it makes life that much harder for athletes who are menstruating.
The tournament has been enforcing these rules for 145 years, but critics say it's about time they loosen up their all-white rules to make the dress code more forgiving in 2022.
They argue that the rules are unforgiving for athletes who menstruate, and they can put a woman at a disadvantage depending on her cycle.
U.K. sports broadcaster Catherine Whitaker has been leading the charge this year, and her criticism has sparked a broader conversation about inclusivity in sports.
"If they had a clothing policy that affected men in the way that it does women, I don't think that particular tradition would last. I cannot imagine going into the biggest day of my life, with my period, and being forced to wear white," she said, according to The Telegraph.
Whitaker also brought up the topic on The Tennis Podcast, where she talked about Qinwen Zheng, an athlete who cited her period after a recent on-court collapse.
"I wish I can be a man on court," Zheng said after the match, per Australia's ABC News. "I really wish I can be [a] man [so] that I don't have to suffer from this."
\u201cQinwen Zheng won a 7-6, 1 hour 25 minute set against Iga Swiatek yesterday, and then lost the second 0-6. \n\nZheng had her leg strapped, yes, but she said there was something else happening that had more of a debilitating impact - her period. \n\nThis is must-listen from Catherine.\u201d— The Tennis Podcast (@The Tennis Podcast) 1653982699
Former tennis player and current sports broadcaster Monica Puig also weighed in.
"Definitely something that affects female athletes! Finally bringing it to everyone’s attention! Not to mention the mental stress of having to wear all white at Wimbledon and praying not to have your period during those two weeks," she tweeted.
\u201cDefinitely something that affects female athletes! Finally bringing it to everyone\u2019s attention! Not to mention the mental stress of having to wear all white at Wimbledon and praying not to have your period during those two weeks.\u201d— Monica Puig (@Monica Puig) 1653994069
British tennis player Heather Watson recently told BBC that the all-white dress code is a topic of conversation every year among female athletes, even if they don't say anything about it in public.
"I really like the tradition of it and I wouldn't want to change that," she said. "My only stress is that I get my period but I just plan my period around it."
Wimbledon has not addressed or responded to the criticism.
The tournament is now underway and runs until July 10.
This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.
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