Barefoot to the Chin—The Fantastic Life of Sally Rand
by Jim Lowe with Bonnie Egan
Sentry Press, August 2018, 754 pages
Feuding Fan Dancers: Faith Bacon, Sally Rand, and the Golden Age of the Showgirl
by Leslie Zemeckis
Counterpoint Press, October 2018, 336 pages
In the U.S., it is illegal to be nude in public, whether sashaying down the street, parading in a political rally or performing in a public venue. Such nudity—including nude sexual activity in view of the public—if intended to shock, offend or arouse is considered a criminal offense. In
Barnes v. Glen Theatre (1991), the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the right of states to outlaw public nudity. It made two critical rulings that continue to define erotic display. It ruled, first, that each state has an interest in “protecting societal order and morality” and, second, that public nudity is not “free expression” protected by the First Amendment.
The Court’s decision followed nearly a century during which public nude displays by...
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