I learned this week, while watching the 2006 Winter Olympics, that the Olympic Committee has recently rescinded the rule that requires female figure skaters to wear skirts. I have not been able to discover the expressed rationale for the “skirts only” rule (any help would be welcome), although I can imagine that it has to do with skirts being perceived as traditional and therefore appropriate attire for women. And, also, perhaps skirts are perceived as the attire that best exposed the athleticism (read thighs and calves) of the skater. Needless to say, I am not sorry to see that “skirts only” rule become a dead letter. Or am I celebrating prematurely? I also learned that the “pants only” rule for male skaters continues. Given that the female ice dancers and figure skaters can now dress however (and however minimally) they want, I suggest that their male counterparts should be equally free to express their artistic and athletic abilities through their costume. But why am I skeptical that we won’t see male figure skaters in skirts (or at least more men scantily clad) any time soon? Is it because men haven’t been equally liberated? Or, is it because women haven’t really been liberated; they have only become more “free” to be attractive on ice, however that is culturally encoded for the 21st century?