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Beach Grit

Help: Is this sexist?

Derek Rielly

by Derek Rielly

Do body paint wetsuits celebrate or objectify women?

I’ve always felt the sexism crowd got one thing terribly wrong, something so at odds with our biology.

Can it really be so degrading to regard the female body as a precious stone? As a goddess? To be enchanted by a real beauty? To have your will broken with the heaving of her breasts, the twitching of her belly, the quivering of her thighs?

Earlier today, a BeachGrit reader presented a link to the short film, below, 4 Surfer Girls Wearing Body Paint. Its creator wrote, “These 4 surfer gals look like they’re wearing wetsuits, but look again! They’re actually wearing pasties, strapless thongs, and body paint!”

What do you do when something comes in like that? Do you pretend you aren’t moved? Do you pretend you’re above the fizzing of hormones? Do you pretend that it’s sophisticated to ignore the mysterious ecstasy of desire?


The two-minute film has had 331,000 views and was made to celebrate the terrific realism of Los Angeles body painter, Paul Roustan.

Shall we examine his bio, if only to legitimise the wonderful film below?

“These intricate, ephemeral body paintings are experienced through live performance, video, and still photography. Roustan’s photographs, elaborately crafted images, often use the decorated body as one element in a larger construction to achieve a narrative, expressive goal. Telling stories about people, places, and ideas, his work explores the multiple layers of meaning combining the human figure with different elements. The fine balance between vulnerability and strength, image and concept, is captured in vibrant, evocative photographs.”

How do you feel about the movie? Does it harden your flesh and steel your muscles or does your brain shake with anger?

Sexist or no?

4 Surfer Girls Wearing Body Paint from Roustan on Vimeo.