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Unformatted text preview: e is a natural coyness in women which has been socially
emphasized by restrictions in dress, conduct and speech to a ridiculous degree. Thus it was immodest in our
civilization for women to show their legs, and the leg became the symbol of the femaleness of the woman or
girl, as also did the breast. The body became taboo, and at present, when women are commencing to dress
so that the legs are shown, the arms are bare, and the back and shoulders visible, the cry of immodesty,
immorality and social demoralization is raised, as if real morality rested in these ridiculous, barbaric taboos.
 All the anthropologists, Tyler, McLennan, Ellis and especially Frazier, deal at length with this fascinating
subject. The psychopathologists relate the most extraordinary stories of fetich love.
But no matter how much one emphasizes the arbitrary nature of modesty, of the restrictions placed on dress,
speech and conduct, it still remains true that their function is at present to act as inhibitors. Ridiculous as it is
to believe that morality resides in the length of the skirt or in the degree of paint and powder on the face, the
fact is that usually they who depart too widely from the conventional in these matters are uninhibited and are
as apt to depart from the conventional in deed as they are in deportment. There are those who say that we
would be far more moral if we went about naked; that clothes suggest more than nakedness reveals. This is
true of some kinds of clothes--the half nakedness of the stage or the ballroom, or the coquettish additions to
clothes represented by the dangling tassels --but it is not true of the riding breeches, or the trim sport clothes, CHAPTER XIV. 120 or the walking suit. The dress of men, though ugly, is useful, convenient and modest, and there is no doubt
that a generation of free women, determined to become human in appearance, could evolve a modest and yet
decorative costume. All of the present-day extravagance in female attire, with its ever-changing fashion, is a
medley of commercial intrigues, female competition and sex excitement. Though the modesty...
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- Spring '11