ISSN : 2266-6060



Clamart, june 2015.

Nothing seems to be easier than to go swimming. You just have to jump into the water. Whether you are a good swimmer or not, whether you are dressed or not, it is that simple! Yet, the name of the game differs significantly from one situation to another. Being alone into a mountain lake is very different form swimming next to a crowded beach. In most cases, some requirements, if not some explicit rules, must be observed. While bikinis and shorts are expected on a regular beach, total nudity is commonplace in some dedicated areas. In the same manner, to go for a swim in a public pool goes hand in hand with a peculiar dress code. Not only women and men are split in dedicated locker rooms in the name of their intimacy, but a national policy defines particular obligations and forbidden practices for swimmers. But no two swimming pools are exactly the same in this respect. In this specific one, the “boxer short” has been a moving entity. First considered as totally inappropriate, it has eventually switched to the opposite category, next to the swim trunk. Keeping the trace of such a movement on the displayed sign, the arrow points to the politics of categories at stake in a mere piece of cloth, the hierarchy at play between a pool and a beach, and the difference it makes between swimming and bathing.

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