if you don’t go barefoot.
Or at least that’s the message from this 1899 cartoon.
That’s how having kids go barefoot was viewed back then. It was extraordinary for a kid not to.
And compare that with today, where parents can get investigated by Children Services for letting their kids go out barefooted.
The thing is, it’s so much safer today to do so. There really is no danger from tetanus (aside from misguided anti-vaxers) like there was then. Parks and streets really are cleaned up a lot better these days than ever before. We try not to leave trash lying around. There are organized (and clean) parks kids can play in. And medical care is really comparatively advanced.
We are so civilized that we really don’t need layer upon layer of protection (and for most things, we don’t do it). Yet, when it comes to bare feet, we bury ourselves with fears.
For some reason, only bare feet have escaped this civilizing.
It’s not civilization, it’s sissification.