Friday, August 5, 2011

From Modesty To Bare Nothings: Ditching the Undies Revolution Part 2(a)

By Miriam B. Medina

What has been the fashion once will come into fashion again..." Japanese proverb

In part 1 of this 4 part series we asked the question, how did underwear get so sexy and revealing. In this, part 2, we examine the roots of undies, how they started, where they came from, and how they began to adapt over the years so that by parts 3 and 4, as you're riveted to your seats by how the sexual revolution affected women's underwear, you know how far lingerie has come.

The Era of Sexual Repression

In order to bring this subject matter to a successful conclusion, I will begin my presentation with the "Chastity Belt" and then move on to the discussion of other passion killers and passion stimulators.


Chastity Belt- As to when the chastity belt, known as "metal underpants with a lock" came into existence, there are no concrete details. One theory is based on the myth that Crusaders worried about leaving their wives and daughters sexually unprotected, so they would compel them to wear chastity belts, enforced during their absence.

Also, prostitutes in Rome during the Renaissance era were known to wear chastity belts. They were used as teasers to display their genitals to a prospective customer. The only one that was allowed to remove the belt was the pimp. He possessed the key to open the lock once his palms were properly greased to pay for his girl's sexual favors.

The Chastity Belt was an apparatus that was designed to prevent sexual intercourse, physical contact, or even the "pleasuring of oneself."

During the 19th century, sexual promiscuity was taboo, yet many practiced it secretly. As a rule, young ladies of Elite Society were always in the presence of a chaperon, or under the watchful eye of their parents who protected their daughter from the dangers of being sexually exploited by a gentleman caller. In the later part of the 19th century, same-sex relationships flourished and casual, romantic liaisons existed between unmarried women, especially among female college students.

Chastity belts continued to be used during the 19th century just as a medical device to prevent youth of both sexes from masturbating. Concerned parents felt that masturbation was both physically and morally damaging to their child, especially during sleeping hours. "Numerous mentions can be found in medical journals of the time of the use of chastity belt-like devices to prevent masturbation in children and adolescents. "

As a result of the ongoing women's liberation movement during that era, modest women became part of the work force. Elated male employers saw the young ladies as sweet plums ready to be plucked. Since there were no laws created at that time with respect to sexual harassment, many hot employers would take advantage of female employees without being held responsible for their actions. Modest women were terrified and furious and needed to find a way to protect themselves in the midst of such aggressiveness; thus the concept of the chastity belt was re-awakened.

Today, chastity belts are sometimes used in BDSM play and in consensual relationships.

During the Victorian era (1839-1901) fashion was very important and more difficult for the women of Society. Femininity was at its height, especially when it came to women's under-garments. Women wore exorbitant amounts of layers of clothing, which covered the entire body, lavishly trimmed with frills, braid, fringe, lace and ribbons. It began with pantaloons and ended with several petticoats. Even the glimpse of an ankle was considered scandalous within polite society.

The Victorian era represented, to many, an ascetic time in history. Victorian modesty was an admirable trait for women to possess, and if anyone displayed the slightest immodest behavior or dress, that person's reputation could be damaged. Modesty was a must, demanding widespread adherence. However, evening dresses differed in style from the normal daytime wear. The evening gowns would show visible cleavage, revealing bare shoulders, necks and backs, which were acceptable in its proper setting, whereas daytime wear consisted of a well covered style.

To be continued Part 2 (b) of a 4 part series.

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