1920s "Swimsuit Police" Photos Prove Slut-Shaming Is Nothing New

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Depressing ... not surprising.

For centuries, women have been told that they have to dress or act a certain way, unless they want to risk being labeled an "evil temptress or seducer". Frankly, it's nothing new  but that doesn't make it any less frustrating to hear or deal with.

Whether it's old-fashioned school dress codes or pesky/persistent catcallersslut-shaming is not a modern concept.

Case in point: The roaring twenties was the era of jazz music, speakeasies, women's suffrage and ... the swimsuit police.

It's exactly what it sounds like.

Known as the "Sheriffettes," these officers were specifically hired to measure the length of a woman's swimsuit. If your bathing suit was deemed too short or revealing, you would be reprimanded and sent home.

This bears repeating.

As a grown woman, you could be sent home by a total stranger for your own personal outfit choice. The sheer ridiculousness behind that isn't lost on us. There were even cases in New York where a sheriffette would try to measure a woman's swimsuit beneath her clothes.

Mashable mentions an incident in 1919 where a a policeman looked up a woman's skirt to check her swimsuit length and then arrested her; he was later chastised for it and told to let her go but the fact that she was taken in under the guise of indecent exposure in the first place is absolutely appalling.

The saddest part about this is that in spite of all of our progress, there are still traces of this swimsuit shaming today. For every step we take in the right direction towards women's rights, society takes thirty steps back.

You can see these policemen "in action" in the images below.

Here's what a bathing suit looked like back then.

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It's crazy that something that is meant to keep you cool in hot, humid weather comes with so many rules and regulations.

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It's interesting that films inspired by the roaring twenties usually gloss over the more sexist aspects of the era.

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Can you imagine being restrained because of something as simple as your bathing suit choice?

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Notice how some of the men's swimsuits are shorter than what the women are wearing.

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H/T: Mashable

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