In the middle of the 4th century BC. An ancient Greek woman named Flynn took off her clothes and dived naked into the sea during the festival of Poseidon. When she was commissioned to paint nudes for one of Greece’s top artists , he also accused her of disrespect in a trial that led to her death.
Today, Greece is home to many topless men, and with the sexual revolution going on behind our backs, many want to believe that women can do whatever they want with their bodies. .
When I started wearing clothes about ten years ago—first for artists, then in protest against nudity—I never thought the Puritans would object. As the criticism grew and the debate grew, I realized I was wrong.
My eyes were opened and I saw a power below the surface. Puritanism is back and going, and as I show in my new book, Naked Feminism: Deconstructing the Cult of Women’s Humility. The pendulum of female modesty has turned back and forth for centuries.
For centuries, women’s silence and “poisonous” bodies have been seen as a source of evil, from earthquakes to war.
In early hunter-gatherer societies, women’s physical modesty was not prioritized and difficult to control. However, when people settled in one place and privatized land and possessions, unscrupulous women were seen as a threat to paternity and inheritance.
As the world’s population grows and people turn against each other, profanity becomes an even greater threat. “Damaged” females compromise food security, group identity, and can treat predators well.
He died under strict control of his virginity and fortune. Women have to cover up to appear noble.
During the second millennium BC, a simple curtain hung over the Mediterranean and Middle East. For the ancient Greeks, there was no symbol of a great civilization more than a woman covering her face.
The Romans were free, and according to some Victorian writers, “the immorality of women” led to the downfall of the entire Roman Empire.
Of course, when the Romans stopped oppressing them, the Christians were ready to simplify the lives of women. The silence was lifted and the curtain returned. Sex in marriage is also opposed because – according to Saint Augustine – it transmits “original sin” to the next generation.
By the end of the Middle Ages, the pendulum had swung in the other direction. Even the most humble woman – the Virgin Mary – is now considered spoiled.
His claims of virginity were mocked and ridiculed by writers, and the most faithful followers of Jesus Christ—the Pilgrims—collected warning signs depicting his vital organs. female sex and a walking penis with a tail.
To save souls, the Puritans introduced a new and more direct Christianity in the 17th century. In 1630, single mothers were whipped and abortion was punished with death.
In the case of gender reassignment, unsuitable women are considered witches and hunted by thousands.
At some point, modesty momentum runs out of steam. With the restoration of monarchy in England in 1660, the Puritans were expelled (some sought asylum in America), and soon the Georgians entered a new era.
the pendulum returns
In the 18th century, protruding breasts attracted so much attention that Ladies magazine declared that bare breasts were dangerous to health. But ironically, Puritanism soon returned under Victorian guise. Even feminists pride themselves on “physical purity” symbolized by the white stripes on the tricolor flag.
In the 1960s, the sexual revolution happened again. But with the oppression of the Victorian era, Puritanism made a comeback. As in the Victorian era, the fires weren’t just started by religious extremists.
In feminism, from topless celebrities to nudes, “indecent women” are seen as a threat to themselves, other women, and society at large. As one feminist pointed out to me: “You think women are undervalued or ignored and treated as sex objects? Because you’re a stupid whore.”
The story is not a long journey for women’s physical freedom, but a near-continuous struggle to stop the Puritans. After moving towards more freedom in the 20th century, the pendulum is now turning back towards simplicity. That’s why I fight – body and soul – fight.