G-string

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Woman wearing a G-string Thong 2.jpg
Woman wearing a G-string

A G-string is a type of thong, a narrow piece of fabric, leather, or satin that covers or holds the genitals, passes between the buttocks, and is attached to a waistband around the hips. A G-string can be worn both by men and by women. It may also be worn in swimwear, where it may serve as a bikini bottom, but may be worn alone as a monokini or topless swimsuit. G-strings may also be worn by exotic or go-go dancers. As underwear, a G-string may be worn in preference to panties to avoid creation of a visible panty line, or to briefs in order to enhance sex-appeal.

Contents

The two terms G-string and thong are sometimes used interchangeably; however, technically they refer to different pieces of clothing.

Etymology

Since the 19th century, the term geestring referred to the string which held the loincloth of Native Americans [1] and later referred to the narrow loincloth itself. William Safire in his Ode on a G-String quoted the usage of the word "G-string" for loincloth by Harper's Magazine 15 years after John Hanson Beadle's 1877 usage and suggested that the magazine confused the word with the musical term G-string (i.e., the string for the G note). This is apocryphal, as the narrowest string on a violin is the E string. [2]

Safire also mentions the opinion of linguist Robert Hendrickson that G (or gee) stands for groin, which was a taboo word at the time. [3]

Cecil Adams, author of the blog The Straight Dope, has proposed an origin from "girdle-string", which is attested as early as 1846. [4]

History

The Oxford English Dictionary reports that the G-string was originally a narrow strip of fabric worn by American Indian women. [2] The G-string first appeared in costumes worn by showgirls in the United States in Earl Carroll's productions during the 1920s, a period known as the Jazz Age or the Roaring Twenties. Linguist Robert Hendrickson believes that the G stands for groin. [2] During the Depression, a "G-string" was known as "the gadget", a double-entendre that referred to a handyman's "contrivance", an all-purpose word for the thing that might "fix" things. [2] During the 1930s, the "Chicago G-string" gained prominence when worn by performers like Margie Hart. The Chicago area was the home of some of the largest manufacturers of G-strings and it also became the center of the burlesque shows in the United States. [2]

The term G-string started to appear in Variety magazine during the 1930s. In New York City, G-strings were worn by female dancers at risqué Broadway theatre shows during the Jazz Age. During the 1930s and 1940s, the New York striptease shows in which G-strings were worn were described as "strong". In shows referred to as "weak" or "sweet" the stripper wore "net panties" instead. "Strong" shows usually took place only when the police were not present, and they became rarer after 1936 when Fiorello H. La Guardia, the Mayor of New York City, organised a series of police raids on burlesque shows. [5]

The American burlesque entertainer Gypsy Rose Lee is popularly associated with the G-string. In 1941 she published a best-selling detective novel called The G-String Murders [6] in which strippers are found strangled with their own G-strings. Her striptease performances often included the wearing of a G-string; in a memoir written by her son Erik Lee Preminger she is described as glueing on a black lace G-string with spirit gum in preparation for a performance. [7]

In the Tarzan novels of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Tarzan is described as wearing a G-string made of doe or leopard skin. [8] In the Tarzan films he always wore a more modest loin cloth.

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The G-String Murders is a 1941 detective novel written by American burlesque performer Gypsy Rose Lee. There have been claims made that the novel was written by mystery writer Craig Rice, but others have suggested that there is sufficient documented evidence in the form of manuscripts and correspondence to prove Lee wrote at least a large portion, if not the whole, of the novel under the tutelage of editor/friend George Davis with some essential guidance from her good friend Rice. The novel has been published under the titles Lady of Burlesque and The Strip-Tease Murders. Set in a burlesque theater, Lee casts herself as the detective who solves a set of homicides in which strippers in her troupe are found strangled with their own G-strings.

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Burlesque Literary, dramatic or musical work or genre

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Panties form of underwear designed to be worn by women and girls

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Mary Elizabeth Dawson, née Elizabeth Buzby and better known as Mademoiselle Fifi, was a dancer whose onstage performance at Winter Garden Theatre on the night of April 20, 1925 was memorialized in The Night They Raided Minsky's. A Philadelphia native, her given name was Mary Dawson. Her mother was a devout Catholic and her father was a Quaker who worked as a policeman.

Georgia Sothern, born Hazel Anderson, was a burlesque dancer and vaudeville performer. She was known for her striptease performances. She gave an interview to the Harvard Crimson during a trip to the Old Howard Athenaeum in Boston during 1939. She toured New York Philadelphia, Boston, Buffalo, and Miami. She was a red-head. One of her performances was captured in a Film Theatarettes short film. She wrote her memoir titled Georgia: A Life in Burlesque. She had a series of marriages.

References

  1. Beadle, John Hanson (1877). Western Wilds, and the Men Who Redeem Them: An Authentic Narrative. p. 249.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 Rachel Shteir (1 November 2004). Striptease:The Untold History of the Girlie Show: The Untold History of the Girlie Show. Oxford University Press. p. 202. ISBN   978-0-19-512750-8 . Retrieved 10 March 2013.
  3. Safire, William (August 4, 1991). "On Language; Ode on a G-String". The New York Times . Archived from the original on 2017-03-31. Retrieved 2017-02-16.
  4. Adams, Cecil (2010-09-02). "What does the G in G-string stand for?". The Straight Dope. Archived from the original on 2015-02-25. Retrieved 2014-12-21. Littell's Living Age, Vol. IX, 1846: 'Their arms were a small hatchet, stuck in their girdle-string.' While that hardly proves G-string is an abbreviation of girdlestring, the fact that the latter word existed and means the same as G-string supports my conjecture that the shorter term derived from the longer.
  5. Shteir, Rachel (2012). "Afterword – Gypsy Rose Lee: "Striptease Intellectual"". The G-String Murders. By Lee, Gypsy Rose. The Feminist Press at CUNY. ISBN   9781558617612.
  6. Carolyn Quinn (2013). Mama Rose's Turn: The True Story of America's Most Notorious Stage Mother. University Press of Mississippi. p. 239. ISBN   9781617038532.
  7. Preminger, Erik Lee (2004). "Chapter 1". My G-String Mother: At Home and Backstage with Gypsy Rose Lee. Frog Books. pp. 14–18.
  8. Ullery, David A. (2001). The Tarzan Novels of Edgar Rice Burroughs: An Illustrated Reader’s Guide. McFarland. p. 12. ISBN   9780786450954.

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