The right to wear a bikini while mowing the lawn

May 1966: The charges of indecent exposure, brought against 21-year-old Mary Lou Hood for mowing her lawn while wearing a bikini, were all dropped. The judge determined there was insufficient evidence of lewdness or indecent exposure to support the charges.

The case was said to be the hottest issue in the college town of Edmond, Ohlahoma "since canned beer." The judge delivered his decision to a standing-room-only crowd. The case also received widespread national media coverage even though, as Hood's lawyer noted, the case didn't actually establish a legal precedent for a right to wear a bikini while mowing the lawn.

Muncie Evening Press - May 20, 1966

Spokesman Review - May 20, 1966

Ogden Standard Examiner - May 20, 1966

Mary Lou Hood, with her husband, at the courthouse
May 20, 1966. Source.

     Posted By: Alex - Tue Nov 01, 2022
     Category: Fashion | Law | 1960s

I’m sure it was necessary to include the body measurements of a young woman being accused of indecent exposure…
Posted by Brian on 11/01/22 at 07:52 AM
Reminds me of the "Dear Abby" discussion about who does housework in the nude. It really surprised me!
Posted by KDP on 11/01/22 at 09:36 AM
You gotta love the roots of oppression by censorship. "Take a felt pen and cover up the bathing suit so we cant be sued, by the public." "Hey! Lets come up with an exemption to morality laws that will allow us to publish pornography, meddle in elections and influence society raising its children by manipulating public opinion with outright lies and omissions of the facts. We can call it section 230."
Posted by ResortDog on 11/01/22 at 09:46 AM
She's 21. Her son is 4. Hmmmm. I was under the impression that the minimum age to marry was 18 in most of the Midwest. (Where I grew up, the guy had to be 21, the girl 18.) Maybe she likes pushing boundaries.

I'm obviously no expert on fashion (old straight guy), but I'd call that a 2-Piece rather than a bikini. For me, the sides have to be more like ribbons or cords for it to be called bikini.
Posted by Phideaux on 11/01/22 at 12:09 PM
“Bikini” is what we’d call click-bait today. The AP article is more toned down, calling it a two-piece and giving her IQ in addition to her measurements.
Posted by ges on 11/01/22 at 12:58 PM
This case was the "hottest issue since canned beer". Where does that leave us if most Americans prefer their beer cold?
Posted by Phred22 on 11/01/22 at 08:35 PM
Phideaux: I read somewhere that technically for a two-piece to be considered a bikini, the bottom has to be below the navel. Though, over time, the term "bikini" may have come to mean, to many people, any two piece bathing suit.

Phred2: Fun history: The reference to "canned beer" may have been to a case that went all the way to the Supreme Court in the early 1960s. Oklahoma had a law that women aged 18 (or 19, I forget the actual age) could purchase beer, but men had to be age 21 or older. Of course, the men just sent their girlfriends or wives into the store to fetch beer for them. A package store took the law to court, saying that it was discrimination against men. Their case was argued by future Supreme Court Justice (get ready for it) Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The Oklahoma law was overturned, so it was one purchase age for everyone.
Posted by Patrick on 11/02/22 at 07:00 AM
Patrick: In the photo of her vacuuming, it looks like it cuts the navel in two. Where does that leave us? I guess I'll have to look at many more pictures of pretty girls in skimpy swimsuits before I can make an informed decision. For science.
Posted by Phideaux on 11/02/22 at 10:51 AM
I wonder if her earrings, which seem to resemble diamond-encrusted dollar signs, helped get the charges dropped. More likely, it was the fact that she married Clark Kent.

Otherwise, I find it surprising that the case of beer from Oklahoma made it all the way to the Supreme Court.

Posted by Virtual in Carnate on 11/02/22 at 12:21 PM
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