I’ve written on modesty culture a couple of times before, but I’m always fascinated that the argument persists, despite the fact that historically, the standard of modesty has never, ever remained the same.
For example, in 1921, Louise Rosine, a writer from California, was arrested in Atlantic City for showing her bare knees on a public beach. An excerpt from the New York Times story:
Meanwhile, in their book chronicling the first Miss America pageant, Elwood Watson and Darcy Martin explain the fight over the same city ordinances that landed Rosine in jail:
“Atlantic City’s bathing suit ordinances caused quite a stir throughout the summer of 1921. Many young women argued for one-piece suits without stockings because they were much less cumbersome for swimming. Yet older women, led by the League of Women Voters, waged a letter-writing campaign extolling the city for its strict enforcement of bathing attire rules. In fact, Atlantic City hired additional beach patrols, separate from lifeguards, to police the beaches for scantily clad women and the ‘bald beach lizards’ who ogled them.”
Swimsuits that we would now consider bulky and uncomfortable were deemed immodest if not accompanied by stockings:
In Washington DC, swimsuits were required to be not shorter than 6 inches above the knee. There were literally modesty police present to make sure women were following this rule.
And here we are, 90 years later, still arguing (and not agreeing) about what constitutes modesty.
Is it showing your form?
Cause I don’t think these young women in the skinny jeans got that memo:
But by all means, continue to flog that expired horse.