Svanemøllen Beach was packed for the event. Photo: Emil Hougaard/Scanpix
In the midst of an ongoing national discussion about Danish women remaining covered up while on the beach (it’s still the summer silly season, after all), two young women decided to organize a Facebook event designed to encourage women to drop their tops, forget about unrealistic body ideals and enjoy a sunny day at Svanemøllen Beach.
The event, ‘Sol, strand og bare bryster’ (Sun, beach and bare breasts), attracted hundreds of attendees on Thursday afternoon but the vast majority of female guests opted to keep their tops on. According to attendees who posted to the Facebook page, there were fewer than ten topless women out of the 300-plus people who showed up.
Many said that was because of the massive press interest in the event and the rolling cameras everywhere.
“The more one focuses on the fact that it is unnatural to be topless, the less natural it becomes,” attendee Thea Rønne told broadcaster DR, which has a video report on the event here.
A few women who went topless took to the Facebook event page to express their disappointment that they weren’t joined by more and some accused the two women behind the event of hypocrisy because they opted to keep their tops on.
One of the event’s arrangers, Marie Lynge Madsen, told DR that the criticism was missing the point.
“This event isn't about all of us being topless on live TV. It is simply about that it should be more natural to be naked,” Madsen said.
Topless bathing became a hot topic after a Megafon poll conducted for Politiken and TV2 in July revealed that just four percent of Danish women sunbathe topless. A full 85 percent say that they never or only very rarely take their tops off on a public beach.
That represents a significant change from previous generations, when Danish women were much more likely to be topless at the beach. According to the survey, nearly half of respondents between the ages of 40 and 69 said that they used to bathe topless but have since stopped.
The Local spoke with Louise Vinther Alis, a 35-year-old Dane who told us that she doesn’t go topless because “natural breasts no longer seem welcome in public”.
“Only the perfect, Photshopped and surgically-enlarged erotic ones are,” she said, adding that it is human nature to try to fit in with the herd.
“If I was on a beach where 30 percent or more were topless I would probably do it as well. I'm not inhibited in any way, but if you are the only one topless in any situation you start feeling like an exhibitionist,” Alis said.