ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Day They Tried To Make Aussie Men Wear Skirts

Updated on August 27, 2009
Mayte, this skirt is riding up, mayte...
Mayte, this skirt is riding up, mayte...

I've always been for men wearing skirts if they want to, but nobody, male or female should have to wear a skirt against his or her will. The only possible outcome of forcing anyone to wear a skirt is rebellion in one form or another, as the mayors of the eastern shores of Australia discovered when they tried to make the male beach goers wear skirted attire.

How did all this come about? Well, those with Victorian values didn't like the idea of men or women bathing at Australia's surf beaches at all, and until late in the 19th century, it was simply not permitted. When people were finally allowed to go swimming, it was under strict conditions that they wear an appropriate costume. A swimming costume for men had to cover the body from the knee to the neck and had to be of a sufficiently dark color to ensure that when wet it did not become transparent and expose the terrible flesh tones of the body to innocent passersby.

As you may be able to tell just by this little list of requirements, the Victorians were repressed nut jobs when it came to the human body. Even the ones that had been deported out to the colonies for one kind of misdeed or another (perhaps coquettishly exposing the upper arm,) were sticklers for the rules, or were at least prepared to pretend to be sticklers for the rules.

Just kidding about the being deported for showing the upper arm. This was England, not the Middle East. You could show the flesh of the upper arm, as long as you were also demurely wearing several petticoats.

The colonial fashion rebellion occurred when the mayors decided that the men, who had recently taken to the sport of surf lifesaving, a sport which is now widespread across the world, but which had actually only just begun the Friday before the infamous skirted men protests of 20 October 1907, should wear a more modest bathing suit. The current bathing costume requirements were not enough, because they sometimes showed the protruding male appendage, so therefore men should also wear a sort of loose 'skirt' which would extend from the waist of the garment to the knees and hide the male member which was so often so vulgarly displayed when in a swimsuit.

This pushed the men of Manly, Bondi and Coogee too far, and on that fated Sunday, they turned up in their dozens, wearing not bathing skirts, but women's skirts and dresses. The uproar was fantastic. Within hours every paper had a representative at the beach. Men milled about in their skirts and dresses, chanting anti Mayoral slogans and frolicking in the surf to the amusement and amazement of other beach goers.

The scene was described in newspaper headlines thus: “‘Bathers in Skirts. Bondi Beach Parade. A Grotesque Turnout. An Immense Crowd’.

It's a testament to Victorian values that such a display was described as being 'grotesque', though to put it into context, a woman wearing a pair of shorts would also no doubt have been described as grotesque, not to mention a few other things too. At the time, a woman simply wearing a long bifurcated pants was a revolutionary act in itself.

Did the protest work? It most certainly did. Overcome by the sheer grotesqueness of it all, the mayors relented, bathing skirts for men were shelved and in time, the speedo clad Australian was born.

Thanks to Tom for the link to the original story upon which this article is based, http://www.nla.gov.au/pub/nlanews/2007/nov07/story-3.pdf

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      ralwus 

      9 years ago

      Now this was very interesting. Good researching Hope. thanks for sharing, Peace, CC

    • profile image

      sbeakr 

      9 years ago

      Delightful article...I had no idea!

    • profile image

      British Bloke 

      9 years ago

      British blokes have always known their Aussie bloke cousins have a bent for dressing like a Shiela: Dame Edna *is* Australia to us pommies. And over the years we have exported some of our best cross dressers to the continent's gene pool: Bob Hawke taught Tony Blair how to put on makeup (according to wikipedia). But I never thought Aussie surfer dudes had a desire to reveal what they had down under? You live an learn!

      Struth Mayte. Spray Kylie with another XXXX!

    • profile image

      TMinut 

      9 years ago

      This is so funny! I know it's also serious and fraught with meaning and all that, but still...

      I DON'T agree that men and women should pretend there are no differences - there are and they're there for a reason. I used to wonder as a child why boy dolls looked no different than girl dolls; it was creepy and I never did play with them much.

      I'm no fan of speedos; neither am I a fan of women in skimpy suits or shirts that cover nothing. It's not because we should hide or desexualize people, just because certain body parts are for use in private ways not meant for public viewing. HOWEVER, this is swimming! Isn't it safer to wear as little as possible so there's less to drag you down?

    • Philipo profile image

      Philipo 

      9 years ago from Nigeria

      Its really funny. Thanks.

    • profile image

      Gunnau 

      9 years ago from Central Coast NSW Australia

      It's funny how things go round in circles.

      Today Aussie Men (at least some of us)would love to be wearing skirts. Especially with a hot summer approaching.

      The Swimwear of choice has shifted as well.

      Once we as men were happy and confident to wear a skimpy nylon lycra brief to the beach but so much bad publicity plus people from modest countries and the younger women outraged by this, we are being shamed into wearing baggy shorts to the beach. A similar thing just happened in Merry Old England with a water park banning the speedo because it was deemed obscene. Lets not talk about the less than toned women squeezed into a similar material.

      It's a funny old place we live in.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)