Women’s Feet Considered “Shocking”


Following up a bit on the last entry, as the second item noted, the real sin may have been that Ms. Johnson was a woman appearing barefoot in public. (Ironic aside: and we all know that, back then, if a woman was barefoot, she should be at home . . . and pregnant.) That point is emphasized by the following story, also from the early 1900s, in the Akron Daily Democrat, August 30, 1902, p. 5:


(Special Correspondence.)

Barberton, Aug. 30—A gang of Spanish gypsies took the Magic City by storm Thursday, and for a half hour, were busy as bees plying their trade of fortune telling when they were sent out of town by the police officers and threatened with incarceration in the Posey House, should they venture to return. They presented a shocking appearance, some of the women being barefooted.

Yes, seeing women barefooted was considered “shocking.” What? Were women’s feet so much different than men’s feet? Did they have little tiny boobs on them that had to be covered?

Interestingly, these days it appears that women are not harassed for going barefoot in public as much as men are. Barefoot women (particularly younger women) are considered “cute,” while barefoot men are considered . . . odd.


One Response to “Women’s Feet Considered “Shocking””

  1. Beach Bum Says:

    Well, I guess that is because it was the Victorian era, where women were required to cover everything. The young Flappers of the 1920s were just as shocking to the Victorian era generation as the 1960s hippies were to the WWII generation. The 1920s were the first decade that women wore clothing that appears “normal” to us.
    And today, yes, women can get away with going barefoot much more than men. Even during the hippie and post hippie era, I saw a lot more women going barefoot, and there seemed to only be a short few years in which it was socially acceptable for young men to go barefoot, but only among their peers. And I did not see middle aged men going barefoot anywhere outside of beach towns, even during the height of the ‘barefoot era’ of the early 1970s. Yet it was still fairly common to see young women barefoot in public well into the 1980s, after it was ‘officially’ out of style, in places you almost never see today. And I never saw anyone make any comments or pay any attention to the fact that they were not wearing shoes.

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