CLEANING THE CULTURE? Grant at Anthropology and Economics notices the Decline of Trashy.

In June, I commented on the fact that young women are adopting more modest clothing, that the bare midriff was now passé. I wondered whether this represented a deeper cultural trend than the “wear out” explanation acknowledges. Perhaps women in their teens and 20s are insisting on new terms of reference, that they are rewriting the rules of femaleness.

There are cultural definitions that have a certain primacy. Gender is foundational in this way. Make a change here, and a change ripples through the social order and the marketplace. If young women are reworking our notions of gender, we must look for a substantial change in their notions of family, community, and politics. Indeed, we may be looking here at one of the “feeder” trends that helps drive the “values” issue of the recent Presidential campaign.

But it would be wrong to think of this as a mere conservatism. It is something more than simple risk adversion, the search for a higher moral ground, or a return to conventional values. One way to track this trend might be to think of it as 4th wave feminism. And if this is the case, we may look forward to yet another reinvention of contemporary life.

I noticed something at the office last week -- about waves of feminism -- that calls for further investigation in light of this post. On the other hand, perhaps youngsters are thinking more seriously about the pre-1963 America That Worked. All the same, Cold Spring Shops will not miss the Football Club of the United Kingdom.

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