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Man and woman in swimsuits, ca. 1910; she is exiting a bathing machine
Recreation on a California beach in the first decade of the 20th century

Modesty is a mode of dress and deportment intended to avoid encouraging sexual attraction in others; actual standards vary widely. In this use, it can be considered inappropriate or immodest to reveal certain parts of the body. A modest person would behave so as to avoid encouraging the sexual attention of others. In some societies, modesty may involve women covering their bodies completely and not talking to men who are not immediate family members; in others, a fairly revealing but one-piece bathing costume is considered modest when other women wear bikinis. In some countries, exposure of the body in breach of community standards of modesty is also considered to be public indecency, and public nudity is generally illegal in most of the world and regarded as indecent exposure. However, nudity is at times tolerated in some societies; for example, during a world naked bike ride,<ref>Guardian newspaper: World Naked Bike Ride – in pictures, 10 June 2012 While most of the riders are naked, all the photographs in this series obscure details by strategically places handlebars.</ref> while a lone man attempting to walk naked from south to north Britain was repeatedly imprisoned.<ref>Guardian newspaper: Naked rambler vows to walk on, 26 August 2003</ref>

Small children are widely not expected to be fully clothed in public until they are grown up. In semi-public contexts standards of modesty vary. Nudity may be acceptable in public single-sex changing rooms at swimming baths, for example, or for mass medical examination of men for military service. In private, standards again depend upon the circumstances. A person who would never disrobe in the presence of a physician of the opposite sex in a social context might unquestioningly do so for a medical examination; others might allow examination, but only by a person of the same sex.
Modesty sections
Intro  Necessity  Body modesty  In dress  Traditional indigenous modesty  Religious traditions of modesty  In the arts  See also  Footnotes  

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