It was on this date, February 9, 1893, that the first public strip-tease took place in Paris. Perhaps Mona, an artist’s model who thought she had more than just the prettiest legs, and, to prove it, jumped nude onto a table for the art students, was unaware that she was making history. She got a 100-franc fine from the police and a riot in protest from her student fans. The Moulin Rouge, which had opened just a few years before, picked up on the idea… and strip-tease was born. The public unveiling of the female body, for the entertainment of an audience and the employment of the performer, has always had the power to set religious mouths gaping. Or gasping. Why does the female body have the power to excite both lust and condemnation?
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Originally published February 2003 by Ronald Bruce Meyer.