Come In - The Water is Fine Essay

This essay has a total of 925 words and 5 pages.

Come In - The Water is Fine

The world of women's bathing
suits, swimming and swimwear developed throughout time
with the expectations of making bathing an enjoyable social
experience.(Kidwell, 117) While the focus of my
advertisement draws on the bathing accessories women
bought and wore in 1914, it opens up the entire realm of
morality and modesty in that age. I will touch on the social,
political and cultural implications of the advertisement I
chose and ask why things were the way they were not so
long ago. While researching this advertisement, I've realized
that everything is relative. No wonder women wore dresses
and shoes while swimming. They weren't even given the
capability to learn to swim. The expectations from the early
1900's are so different than what they are today that we
need to realize that they were in a completely different
mindset. On the surface, the advertisement I chose is about
women's bathing accessories, but as we dig deeper, we
can see that it deals with women's equality. Women once
wore shoes, hats, and bathing dresses to swim in. A
bathing dress alone weighed about 30 pounds when wet,
aside from the accessories that women felt obliged to wear.
Women were not expected to swim in that attire, they were
expected to bathe.(Carter, 223) This advertisement for
swim accessories at Macy's was made during a time of
change. The fact that women were expected to wear all of
this attire in the water confirms the fact that women were
not expected to swim as of 1914, but instead to bathe for
social pleasure. Women were starting to learn to swim
athletically instead of standing in the water
socializing.(Kidwell,118) This was not only the turning
point for women's clothing and swimwear to become less
restricting, but also the time for athleticism and for women
to stand up for themselves and gain equality. This ad was
written 6 years before the 19th amendment to the U.S.
constitution was ratified, the amendment that gave equal
voting rights to women. Back then, it was illegal for a
woman to vote. I guess it doesn't surprise me that we were
wearing dresses in the water. In reality, though, "back then"
was only 79 years ago. America was free but not equal.
This poem about female swimmers in the 1920's written by
Grantland Rice depicts the male perception of women's
ability as a whole: With the women in their swimmin'
Turning Records into wrecks With the ladies raising hades
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