AustraliaA WET T-shirt controversy has broken out among female firefighters who have complained their new Rural Fire Service shirts become see-through when wet. … Women complained that when they sweat, handle leaking hoses, wash or fill their trucks and even when it rains, their male colleagues can see through their new shirts, The Daily Telegraph reports. “Most women aren’t too happy about it. We’re not doing the job to be glamorous. We’re not sex objects,” Sydney volunteer Maryann Berndt, 34, said yesterday. “You can get quite wet on the fire ground, you always get wet from leaking hoses or filling up the trucks.” …another female firefighter wrote: “I do not like the yellow long sleeved T-shirts for the fact that after you have rolled a few wet hoses or ended up with water all over you they become completely see-through. This isn’t much of an issue for the guys but not so flattering for the girlies …It is demeaning there is no thought for women volunteers and what may happen if the shirts get wet. It shows a lack of respect for what women do in the RFS,”

I agree with Maryann Berndt that it’s demeaning for her to have to fight fires in a see through shirt. She’s correct when she says that she’s not a sex object. But I believe these things because I’ve seen a picture of Maryann Berndt. (Click the link at your peril.) Look, I believe that the most important quality in a female firefighter is the ability to pull my sorry ass to safety in an emergency and not to give me an erection. But why can’t they be both? What if someone who’s better looking than Maryann Berndt wants to rescue me from danger and show me her wet nipples through her clothes. Is that so wrong? And let’s not kid ourselves, these women who are complaining are just dying to be sex objects. Listen to the language they use. “You can get quite wet… leaking hoses… filling the truck… hoses squirting all over you…” If they didn’t really wish guys would ogle them, they wouldn’t write with more sexual double entendres than a years worth of Penthouse Forum letters. Call me a feminist all you want, but I support women’s rights to wear wet t-shirts while they fight fires.