Dartmouth's Daily Blog
News, commentary, criticism and praise for the College on the Hill, enlivened with history, culture and travel when we feel so moved.
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Neo-Talibanism in the Upper Valley
Maybe it was a slow day, but last week the Valley News reached a new dimension of silliness in a piece by staff writer Susan Boutwell that laments the upsurge (sorry) in the amount of exposed bosom in modern female attire. [Full disclosure: Ms. Boutwell has interviewed me, quite capably and accurately, in the past regarding my opinion of matters relating to Dartmouth.]
With all the assurance of a thoroughly modern mullah, Ms. Boutwell attempts to lay down the law as to when and where women young and old can reveal cleavage. The opera: OK. The international political arena: Not Serious. The American workplace: NO WAY. She even quotes a modestly attired business etiquette expert to support her position. (Are there studies on this kind of thing? … “36.2% of aerospace contracts were lost due to excessively revealing clothing on the part of the bidding executives…”)
Regrettably, Ms. Boutwell seems uninformed by history, wherein any change in female attire has inevitably brought out legions of blue-haired ladies to lament the decline of morality and the objectification of women (I promise that I won’t ever use that term again). Exposing ankles a century ago was a scandal (hence the phrase: a well-turned ankle), and flappers gave folks the vapors in the 1920’s when they flashed their knees. Midriffs (there’s an old word that you don’t see anymore) were shocking around sixty years ago with the arrival of the bikini, and now Susan laments that women are debasing themselves in yet another way. Are you shocked, shocked, too? I hope not.
At least we won’t see topless sunbathing on the Green anytime soon. Hanover’s ever active town police would act pronto to enforce New Hampshire’s statutory dress code that mandates that women modestly attire themselves in bikini tops when they enjoy the sun:
Title LXII of the New Hampshire Criminal Code, Chapter 645: Public Indecency: Indecent Exposure and Lewdness. I. A person is guilty of a misdemeanor if such person ….. performs any other act of gross lewdness under circumstances which he or she should know will likely cause affront or alarm.
Note that the legal standard here is “affront or alarm” and not anything objective. With Ms. Boutwell now being on record that cleavage is an affront to her, perhaps the Valley News can whip up public sentiment to such an extent that décolletage will be re-defined as “lewdness”; then the Hanover Po can force local women to cover up what was once delicately called a “plunging neckline.”
Following that, when public decency has been restored to this new level, then perhaps midriffs, knees and ankles will be next? If so, I’d like to be the East Coast distributor for burkhas.
Photo Above: Dartmouth women from the Class of 2020 dress for success (or sunbathing?)
August 14, 2013
Breaking: Of Crips and Bloods and Memories of Ghetto Parties
History repeats itself, first as tragedy and then as farce, or sometimes it just repeats itself. From the New York Times on November 30, 1998: At Dartmouth College, white students at a ”ghetto party” dressed…
June 25, 2013
Dean of the College Charlotte Johnson’s War on Students Part (2/2)
Part 1, Part 2 Today’s post again recounts the events that befell the Freshman. However, the content of the Hanover Police department report reproduced in this space yesterday is supplemented by information from my own…
October 18, 2009
When Love Beckoned in 52nd Street
We were at San Francisco’s BIX last evening, enjoying prosecco, cheese, and a bit of music. A full year of inhabitation in Northern California has unraveled to me no decent venue for proper lounging, but…
October 9, 2009
D Afraid of a Little Competish
So our colleague and Dartblog writer Joe Asch informed me that the D has rejected our cunning advertising campaign. Uh-oh. The Dartmouth is widely known as a breeding ground for instant New York Times successes,…
September 4, 2009
How Regents Should Reign
As Dartmouth alumni proceed through the legal hoops necessary to defuse a Board-packing plan—which put in unhappy desuetude an historic 1891 Agreement between alumni and the College guaranteeing a half-democratically-elected Board of Trustees—it strikes one…
August 29, 2009
Election Reform Study Committee
If you are an alum of the College on the Hill, you may have received a number of e-mails of late beseeching your input for a new arm of the College’s Alumni Control Apparatus called…
- The Dartmouth College Case
- 2007 Trustee Election
- Dartmouth Constitution
- Sunday Morning Sinatra
- The Indian Wars
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