Americans have pledged their support to Australian protesters who stormed a Gold Coast beach to fight back against calls for G-string bikinis to be banned.
People in the US declared they “stand with” bikini-clad activists who attended the #freethepeach walk which took place at Kurrawa beachfront at 6am on Friday.
The rally comes after Ian Grace, the founder of Youth Music Venture festival, claimed women and girls who wear G-strings to the beach are “cheapening themselves”.
His plea to forgo the skimpy swimwear, which he said made him “uncomfortable”, was quickly blasted as “sexist”, with outspoken personality Abbie Chatfield even describing it as “policing women’s bodies”.
Now news of Mr Grace’s quest, and the subsequent #freethepeach protest that followed, have made headlines around the globe – sparking an avalanche of support for the popular bikini style.
“We stand with the protesters on this one,” one American wrote after the story was covered by Bar Stool Media.
“I’ve never wanted to visit Australia more,” another shared.
As one declared: “The thong is the best thing that ever happened to the beach community.”
“Best protest ever. Where do I sign up?” one chipped in.
“Start by banning the people trying to ban bikinis,” someone else mused.
Rebecca Pask, who organised the #freethepeach protest, said “the conversation is so much wider” than just swimwear.
“Children and our young girls in society, we do need to teach them what’s appropriate and what’s not but that starts in the home,” she told Today.
“A bikini blanket ban was never going to be the solution. Never. Not on the Gold Coast.”
Ms Pask, who owns Barr Body Swim, took aim at the proposed ban after Mr Grace first made his concerns known in a letter to the city’s mayor Tom Tate, after an incident with a woman wearing a triangle bikini in which he described her “as close to naked as anyone could be”.
“At a local event where our musicians were playing, one young lady in particular was walking on the footpath on the main road and had the tiniest triangle in front and was as close to naked as anyone could be,” he wrote.
“You could see she was looking almost defiantly at people as they approached, almost daring them to say something. There’s something very wrong here.
“While any man would enjoy ‘the view’, I believe women are very much demeaning and cheapening themselves, portraying themselves as sex objects, then decrying it when men see them that way.”
While there were some who agreed, labelling the skimpy swimwear trend “attention seeking”, most argued the proposed ban was “outdated and sexist”.
Media personality Abbie Chatfield also called out Mr Grace’s comments in a lengthy video shared on social media.
“Imagine going on the Project to expose yourself as a misogynist,” she said in a video shared to her Instagram on Wednesday.
“This absolute loser twerp who obviously has some sort of power complex … it’s a bit weird the amount of times he mentions being ‘forced’ to look at women’s arses and bosoms.”