1913: Sentenced to 20 days for winking

In 1912, conservatives in New York declared war on “mashing”. Flirtatious and inappropriate behaviour towards women had reached plague proportions in the Big Apple, they claimed. Attractive females could not walk down a New York street without being wolf whistled, propositioned or subjected to a barrage of provocative remarks.

State assemblyman Richard F. Hearn carried out his own research into ‘mashing’ and declared it the leading cause of divorce in the United States. In early 1912 Hearn sponsored a bill that introduced prison terms for convicted “mashers”.

This crackdown produced several arrests over the next two years – though judges tended to be lenient, if not dismissive. This was not always the case, however, as revealed in this report from November 1913:

Source: Daily Capital Journal, November 12th 1913. Content on this page is © Alpha History 2019-23. Content may not be republished without our express permission. For more information please refer to our Terms of Use or contact Alpha History.