American boys during the 1960s often shyed from wearing very short shorts other than cut-off jeans. What is your cultural theory as to why European boys actually enjoyed wearing very short shorts especially as part school uniforms?
A HBC reader asks, "American boys during the 1960s often shyed from wearing very short shorts other than cut-off jeans. What is your cultural theory as to why European boys actually enjoyed wearing very short shorts especially as part school uniforms? In many of your photo illustrations, I noticed that the vast number of these young boys wearing shorts were very slender in their physique build having long slender legs along with a very slender upper body. I assume that they were expected to be very active to many forms of athletic competition by their school thus they were always in very good physical condition. Right? Too, did the European culture/society in those days believe that
young boys up thru their teen years appeared to be much more attractive wearing short shorts versus long pants such as jeans? Please let me know! Thank You? "
Another question. "To your best knowledge, did these schools in Europe with their school uniform rules which require these boys to
wear shorts cause some problems in certain religious circles such as some very conservative Baptist Church groups which teach against any member wearing shorts? I know about this sort of thing because I used to be a member in such an ultra-conservative Fundamental("legalistic") Independent Baptist Church group which taught against any member wearing shorts even for leisure purposes during hot summer months."
HBC has attempted to address the question of the differeing attitudes towars short pants in America an Europe in the short pants essay page. We do have, however, some comments to this readers comments.
HBC believes that there is some accuracy in the readers suggestion that American boys were shy about wearing short pants. Indeed they were widely seen as a fashion more sitable for kittle boys and girls. The older boys that did wear shirts were likely to be boys from affluent families which were more influenced by Euroipean styles.
HBC is not as willing to accept as fact that the assertion that European boys in the 1950s and 60s liked short shorts. Certainly many boys wore them. How popular they were and to what extent boys chose them when alternatives were available is another question. This HBC has not yet been able to ascertain. We believe that one factor may be that European boys generally had less say about their clothes than American boys. As European boys began to more aggressively assert their own additudes, one noticeably see more an more boys wearing jeans.
I think you will find that school uniforms in Europe are primarily a British phenomenon. Some catholic schools in France also had unirorms, but geerally they were not commonly worn in Western Europe. Even in NAZI Germany where almost everyone wore a uniform--school children did not. Of course smocks were worn in several countries which are a kinbd of uniform.
Another factor about body build. HBC has noted that more American boys appear to have hefty builds than is the case in Europe. This is presumably a dietary matter. This is, however, only a preliminary observation that requires more detailed assessment.
Baptists are only a minor denomination in Britain and Europe. It is of some importance in America, especially the South. I do not think it affected clothing attitudes for boys greatly in the Nort. Baptist ideas certinly were influential in the South. But it was in the South that shorts pants were more commonly worn in America.
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