A New Plymouth mum has made headlines after calling for G-string bikinis to be banned at public pools.

Amy Dixon launched the Change.org petition late last month after she spotted a woman in the “very revealing” swimwear while attending her son’s swimming lessons.

An academic has responded to the petition by saying the issue of body exposure unfairly discriminated against women.

“The term itsy bitsy teeny weeny bikini seems to have taken on a whole new meaning with the G-string bikini becoming a popular choice among some of our young woman,” Dixon wrote in her petition.

“My family has often been left feeling uncomfortable and the enclosed area means looking away or moving spaces is not always an option.”

Dixon also questioned whether the swimwear was creating “a barrier for other members in our community where they may avoid these spaces all together”.

“I would love our local pool to be a family-friendly space where community members of all ages, backgrounds, beliefs, and cultures can feel safe and free to enjoy themselves,” she wrote.

“I can’t help wonder if others feel the same and maybe collectively we can do something about it by getting a petition going to ban G-string swimwear and make some change for the better.”

One woman who signed the petition said public pools “are generally kid places”.

“The fact women think it’s OK to be so inappropriate is mind-blowing. They just want to be looked at.”

“I need positive role models in my children’s lives,” another added.

“I’m a red-blooded dude and I definitely love seeing a barely clothed hot chick. However, there is definitely a time and a place for it,” a man wrote.

‘Highly and unfairly gendered’

Associate Professor Rebecca Stringer, a senior gender studies lecturer at the University of Otago, told 1News that “public body exposure is highly and unfairly gendered”.

“It looks normal to people when men get around in a pair shorts only, brandishing their chests for all to see, and we laugh about ‘plumber’s bum’.

“But, when it is women exposing their bodies, we become very disapproving and judgemental, constructing them as sexually provocative and thus deserving of moral opprobrium and whatever harm might come their way,” she said.

Stringer said women “seem to have a cultural duty as markers of moral decency and are punished for perceived failures on that count”.

One person told 1News they’re “just togs”, while another said they were unnecessary.

“Their ownership of their own bodies is not respected the way men’s is – we are always very ready to interfere with this ownership and relitigate the decisions women make about their own bodies.”

She said in situations where children are concerned, people “need to be mindful about what we are teaching them”.

“They can see whose bodily autonomy we support and whose we quarrel with.”

The change.org petition had 216 signatures by Tuesday afternoon.