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Essay/Term paper: Come in - the water is fine

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Essays

Free essays available online are good but they will not follow the guidelines of your particular writing assignment. If you need a custom term paper on Essays: Come In - The Water Is Fine, you can hire a professional writer here to write you a high quality authentic essay. While free essays can be traced by Turnitin (plagiarism detection program), our custom written essays will pass any plagiarism test. Our writing service will save you time and grade.

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

In a matter quite complex, With their biceps getting

stronger Where their strides are getting longer In about four

generations Who will be the weaker sex?(Kidwell,120) It

sounds like this man is scared that women might someday

gain the same treatment as men. Rice is talking about the

physical characteristics of women, but you can take it one

step farther and see the last 2 lines in the poem as his own

insecurity as to where women would be in four generations,

which, ironically, is right now. I am exactly four generations

from the man who wrote this poem and it seems completely

absurd that anyone would say such a thing. If someone told

me to wear shoes, a hat and a dress while swimming, I'd

wonder what planet they came from. In reality, here in

America, women were expected to wear those things while

swimming just 85 years ago, right here, not on a different

planet, or even in a different country. I can't imagine

growing up with the expectation that I couldn't do as well in

life as a man could, or that I couldn't wear a two-piece

without people thinking I was walking around in my

underwear. Culturally, the people that grew up in this time

did live on a different planet. When it comes to

expectations and behavior, we are on opposite ends of the

spectrum than we were just 85 years ago. This Macy's ad

demonstrates not only the fact that women were not equal

to men in the eyes of the law but also the fact that there

were different classes, just as there are today, and that

Macy's had something for almost anyone's price range.

From my perspective, the social aspect of this

advertisement leans on the difference between social

classes. The wealthy women probably wore the expensive

front and side lace shoes that cost $2.24 and the silk and

satin fancy caps or hats that were $3.24 instead of the

$0.23 caps and the $0.29 canvas shoes that the women

with little money had. The prices seem humorous compared

to the prices you would pay for a pair of shoes today. The

cheapest pair of canvas shoes you could find would be

about $10, ranging from in the hundreds. For a nice pair of

pumps, you could pay anywhere from $20 to thousands of

dollars. Socially, I think being poor in 1914 was looked

down upon considerably more than it is today. The

different social classes were not expected to intermingle.

Today, people from all different backgrounds, cultures and

races attend the same schools and churches. In conclusion,

the only way I can really analyze this advertisement is to put

myself back in that time, but it is impossible to imagine

myself in that position. All I can do is compare the time of

the advertisement to the present, and wow- it was different.

Like I said before- it would be like living on a different

planet, with a dissimilar culture and very strange rules to

follow. I've often wondered if it would have been better to

live back then, but in my perspective, I'm glad I am where I

am on the timeline of eterninty. Bibliography Carter,

Ernestine. The Changing World of Fashion, Putnam,

London. 1977 Kidwell, Claudia Brush and Steele, Valerie.

Men and Women, Dressing the Part. Smithstonian

Institution Press, Hong Kong. 1989. Steele, Valerie.

Fashion and Eroticism. Oxford University Press. New

York. 1985. New York Times. Advertisement for Macy's.

May-Jun, 1914.  

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