Sunday Question – What Happened To Modesty?

Contrary to anyone’s opinion I’m not a prude, nor anywhere close to a prude. I do believe there are breaches of protocol as it pertains to young people, most specifically young girls, that leads me to ask the question “what’s happened to modesty?”

Modesty by Chris JL

I was at the New York State Fair on Friday with my wife, and we have very good time. What was troubling to me was the overwhelming number of young girls, most of whom had to be under 18 if not 16, wearing very short shorts and very tight shorts.

Like I said, think I’m anywhere close to being a prude, but when you’re seeing what is known as “camel toe” and you know you have to burn your eyes, scrub your brain, and say 20 Hail Mary’s when you get home, even if you’re not Catholic, you know that there’s a problem with modesty.

I’m not going to go down the moral road, because I don’t know that morality has anything to do with modesty in this case. I tend to think that teenagers in general are going to get away with whatever they can get away with without thinking much about consequences; they did that back in my day as well.

If they’re with a large group of people the consequences might be fewer than if they were in a small group, or if they were in a place less crowded than a major state fair. Yet, a young person could be separated from the group and grabbed by someone with a lot of guts and stupidity even in such a public place.

A big part of me asks where the parents are and what parents are thinking by allowing their young girls to walk around like this. I don’t mean alone with their friends; I mean with their parents!

I asked my wife what her thoughts were. She said there was no way in the world she would have allowed her daughters to walk out of the house dressed this way. In many instances, it seemed like what they were wearing was way more revealing than if they were at the beach wearing bikinis.

Much of this could be me suffering once again from the generation gap. After all, I remember back in the 70s when there was all this concern about girls wearing mini skirts, hot pants and tube tops and thinking that some adults might be behind the times. I also know that a lot of those girls put that stuff on once they left the house so their parents wouldn’t find out.

Then again, I also remember being young and enthusiastic and enjoying those times when I could take a peek at what a lot of the young ladies were wearing, and since they were closer to my age I didn’t have a problem with any of it. Sorry ladies; I was a normal teenager! lol

I’m reminded of a coworker back in the mid-80s who had a very shapely body and occasionally wore this pink sweater dress that she loved. I remember our conversation one day when she said she was never going to wear that dress again because she started to notice how older men were staring at her and didn’t like how she felt with their stares.

When she said this she’d just turned 20, and I remember thinking that I met her when she was only 18, and how naïve I thought she was in wearing that particular dress and some of her other outfits at the time. That she had this epiphany for the first time as she was leaving her teens helped to highlight the fact that teenagers really don’t have much of a clue as to the effect their appearance has on those of the opposite sex, no matter what their age is. That’s why I’m putting it on the back of parents; they should know better and attempt to teach their children better.

I also have to say that it wasn’t only young teenage girls were dressed this way, although overwhelmingly it was. I understand the concept of “if you got it flaunt it”, but usually you’ll see a few 30 and 40-year-olds dressing that way if they still got it… or think they do. But when they “don’t got it” and are still dressing as if they do, and you see bulging stomachs hanging outside of shirts that are too short because they’re trying to dress like the kids of today… well… you know…

So… what happened to modesty? Is it a product of the generation gap, a sign of the times, or something else I’m not thinking of?

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59 thoughts on “Sunday Question – What Happened To Modesty?”

  1. Lol! Mitch!! Having read this post, I get to the end and there is an advert for: “Poko Pano Lauryn Bikini” and a photo of a young woman/girl in a red bikini!

    Kinda fitting, really!!

    And yeah… “much of this could be me suffering once again from the generation gap” – it is.

  2. Great finish to the post Mitch. What is the point of modesty, when the mystery and curiosity has been lost in this age of widespread depiction of the female body in all degrees of undress, in ads, articles, book covers and so on?

    1. Rummuser, I understand a lot of that, but I think there’s an age limit at which such things need to be restricted. I mean, there are child porn laws for a reason, right? You know, a funny thing is that I never wanted to rush to be older when I was a kid. I always knew what was coming, and I hoped to stave it off as long as possible. And yet it still caught up with me; stupid time! lol

  3. I had a great relevant post and a whole nother path to take your premise down. Now I keep staring at a red bikini, or rather, whats sort of in it….

  4. Anything to get that “cleavage” link, eh? I can vouch for Mitch, he is no prude. Modesty, it is not found at the NY State Fair I can tell you that!

    1. For sure. I must not have been paying much attention last year, or it was a cooler day, but man, I just couldn’t believe what I “wasn’t” seeing.

  5. Lots of good points.

    It’s tough to expect modesty at the fair though. I went Saturday and saw some unique characters.

    Couldn’t agree more about the men without shirts. The worst are the ones with the nipple rings.

    1. Keith, you and I go to the health club, and there are guys there who, if they decided to flaunt it, who could be mad at them. Then there’s the other group where you want to ask “why are you torturing me like that?” Freaky.

  6. Things like this come into style slowing in a sort of hypnotic way through artistic mediums making many ppl in the world as Min Farrakhan once put it “freaks of nature”.

    But what can we do unles we all ban together to counteract whats being produced in the artistic mediums?! The only thing is to encourage in the women closest to us the value of showcasing their inner beauty instead of their “camel toe”!

    Of course many have said and will continue to say I’m weak for that and may even call me a hypocrite whenevr I look upon a showcased camel toe but indeed i am a man and a thing like that is hard NOT to notice..

    1. Exactly Caleb, it’s hard not to notice. And for women of age, I couldn’t say a thing, but for young girls not of age, I still wonder where the parents are.

  7. LOL- you’ve been reading my mind- or rather mine and my daughters….

    We were just talking this morning talking about “those” neighbors- males who drive their riding lawn mowers around with no shirt on, their man-boobs shaking like a go-go dancers- ewwwww!!!!!!!!!!

    I cannot find my daughter (13 yrs old) a decent pair of shorts- they are all…well…SHORT! And I HATE the new styles where the bra straps show- seems like no matter what I buy her, the clothes are like that! Guess we’ll have to stick with t-shirts 🙁

    1. I haven’t quite figured out why this style of showing bra straps is, well, a style Carolee. I recognize that there are some styles where they’re hard to hide, but in other instances you just wonder what’s going on.

      Man boobs; you’re killing me! lol

  8. I don’t think that it’s a matter of modesty, but of proper education (more exactly home education). At some point the parents got too busy earning money, and the kids were left alone. These things can’t be taught in school, but rather at home.

    1. Good point, Mia. Parents to need to be more involved in what their kids are doing and wearing.

  9. Its a combination of things I think – the pressures of modern life mean both parents are working and the media has to play a large part as well

    1. You might be correct, Peter, but on the weekend parents are with the kids and should see some of this stuff and nip it in the bud.

  10. I was going to say the AIDS scare must be over, but I can’t really remember (back in the ’80s) if even that had much effect on TV, movies, ads, and fashion. If you’ve ever seen commercials for these shows about very young girls in beauty pageants (like six or seven years old), you have to know it’s going to get worse before it gets better.

    1. True Charles. No one is thinking AIDS or anything else. And I keep wondering how much worse it could get, and then realize I don’t want to think about it.

  11. Having been the parent of a teenage daughter teenage girls dress proactively, one to feel sexy and two to fit in amongst their peers. It is all about attracting boys. You don’t dress that way without looking for a response.

    Before you go judging the parents of daughters dressing this way. I recall one time when my husband went to the school and saw my daughter in a skirt not covering her tush. He made her change it and FYI she did not leave the house that way or did the skirt belong to her. But that’s what all her friends were wearing.

    Also have you ever gone shopping in a teen store? We could get in an entire discussion on the clothes being made for teens and the advertisements.

    Teens are wearing what is in fashion and what is being marketed to them.

    It is difficult for girls, because when they go shopping, that’s what’s being sold to them.

    Oh and what’s with the Poko Pano Lauryn Bikini advertisement in your blog post on modesty. Does not seem very fitting.

    1. Rose, I have to totally disagree with everything you said. It’s parent’s fault for not keeping their daughters from looking like they’re ready to be raped if they’re walking with their daughters while they’re dressed like what I was seeing at the state fair. In my day, that just wouldn’t have happened, and if it came down to it, my wife would make clothes for any daughter we had. If you read the comment, Carolee said the same thing, went to the store to try to buy shorts, couldn’t find anything appropriate and didn’t buy them. To me, that’s an adult decision.

      As to the picture of the woman with the bikini, Val got the irony of it, but this is an adult blog and certainly nothing close to many of the things you’ve put on your blog. Justify the vulva fragrance then talk to me about what’s appropriate.

      Dressing sexy and fitting in shouldn’t be the focus of teens. I certainly never went for that when I was a teenager; I could care less what others thought of me unless I was beating them in sports. I think many parents abrogate their responsibilities and find other things and other people to blame things on. That’s why teen pregnancy is on the rise and violence against women is on the rise. There’s certainly no justification for either of those things, but parents seem to want a free ride without taking any of the blame or responsibility for their children’s behavior. My dad the master sergeant instilled in me one major point; never do anything that will embarrass the family name.

      People sometimes say to me “you’re not a parent, so you don’t know.” Okay, parents, Carolee, Scott, Sire… your thoughts on how these young women are dressing and whether it’s someone else’s fault. If everyone agrees with Rose’s position on this, I’ll retract the entire post and that’s a promise.

      1. I don’t recall anywhere you saying that the girl was with her mother. In fact what you said was “What was troubling to me was the overwhelming number of young girls, most of whom had to be under 18 if not 16, wearing very short shorts.” So all these young girls under 18 were with their mothers?

        I also said my daughter got the skirt from a friend. I sure as heck didn’t buy it for her and like Carolee I commented on what the stores are selling. I’m sure Carolee at some point if not already may have a fight with her daughter over what is appropriate.

        As for the ad, what does my post have to do with the fact that the only thing Paul had to add to the conversation was his comments about the red

        I found your photo not very fitting for what I thought was a great topic on provocative dress and you respond to my comment asking me to justify something on my blog. Val may have found it fitting, but I didn’t. I only brought that up.

        I find it ironic how you always go off like you are some expert on parenting when you have never raised a child. Who are you to judge parents when you have never been one.

        I don’t agree with everything parents do. I don’t agree with how many of my son’s female friends dress, but I also know it is not easy being a parents and it is not easy being teen trying to fit in.

        I recommend you go to the mall with your wife and go into a teen store & take a look at the clothes then come back here.

        Media plays a big role in this and maybe it is because you are not a parent that you can’t see this. I really don’t know.

        You took everything I wrote and made it sound just the opposite to what I was saying. I even read my reply and your reply to my husband and he agrees with me.

        I’m not going to debate with you instead I’ll share my own opinion on my own blog.

      2. I seem to give you a lot of fodder to write on your blog, Rose; maybe I should start charging a fee. lol

        I did say that many of these young girls were with their parents, which was really shocking to me. As for going into a teen store, why the heck would I do that? I see things in the windows while walking through the mall that I would never consider wearing. Of course, while growing up we didn’t have specialty stores like that, so maybe my history of shopping at Sears, Penneys & other department stores like that have colored my shopping habits.

        As for never being a parent, I’ve never been a pilot either, but I know flying blindfolded is a bad idea. I love how parents always use that excuse for those of us who don’t have kids, but the truth is that, unlike pilots, I had parents, and I was a kid. I’m a generation older than you and studies have shown that parents of baby boomers were more strict that parents of Gen X or Gen Y.

      3. You may have been a kid, but how many years ago was that. I don’t recall ever having the arguments growing up in the 80’s over what clothes to wear as I did with my daughter in 2000. But then in the 80’s you had jeans that uh fit.

        I’m just saying before you go judging parents stop to think for a moment.

      4. Believe it or not I think before I write every post on every blog I have. I reserve the right to have my opinion on my blog about parents in general, as you have your opinion on your blog about topics you bring up. I noticed you never responded to my comment on the one post of yours about prejudice. You wrote on a topic you probably have never experienced, I commented on a topic that I’ve experienced often, and no response? I could call you out and say until you’ve experienced the type of prejudice I have that you can’t say anything about it, but that would be ridiculous, just like you saying I can’t judge parents because I’ve never been one.

        By the way, I never had arguments with my parents on clothes either. For 5 years most of my clothes were mail order since the closest real store was more than 3 1/2 hours away.

      5. I love how you respond to a debate by bringing up past topics that have no bearing on this one.

        I have experienced prejudice, more than you know. What you think because you are a man of color you are the only one discriminated against. Wake up and think again.

        Now can we get back to the topic at hand

      6. I sure had lot’s of arguments with my folks over what I wanted to wear Rose and I can honestly say I never won one of them. I think that’s our problem these days, we’re just too damn soft with our kids.

        Can’t blame it all on peer pressure either because we had that in out days too. The only difference was that I reckon most parents were a lot stricter then than they are today.

    2. Rose, I reckon the girls aren’t all that dumb. They know what they’re buying when they buy it. Sure everyone else is wearing it but that’s no excuse to follow the trend. What the hell happened to individuality?

      1. I agree with you Sire. Children should have their own individuality, but peer pressure at high school is extreme.

        Look for a follow up on my blog tomorrow.

      2. I’m not sure it’s high school that’s the problem, unless they don’t have a dress code. We sent out daughter to a private school where they had to wear uniforms.

        Sure there is a lot of peer pressure out there, and it’s those parents who don’t mind what their kids do that make a parent’s job that much harder.

      3. I think that is where the problem lies, and yes there are parents that can be a problem.

        Like I said I sent my kids to a private school and there was one occasion where a boy wore earrings to school and was told to take them off because it was against the schools dress code. The parent instead of sticking up for the school got all upset because she felt the kid had the right to be an individual. She couldn’t see she was wrong and that she was teaching the kid the wrong thing.

        The same thing happened in regards to dress length and shoes etc. Luckily the school maintained it’s stance and parents either had to conform or leave.

      4. Good for the school for maintaining a stance. I went to a catholic school very strict on dress code. That same school is no longer as strict.

  12. I’m not sure it’s all the parents fault Mitch. They have some control over what they’re wearing when they leave the house but it pretty well ends there. Who’s to say these girls don’t get changed at a friends house or something.

    I My daughter wears short dresses but not as short as what some others I’ve seen, and a lot of that has to do with Anna, the wife who would give her what for if she saw her in something not fitting.

    Having said that I think that I reckon that a lot of parents probably are at fault. Take for example those parents that enter their kids in those beauty pageants. Have you seen how they dress up those poor little girls?

    In regards to modesty, I think it’s slowly disappearing and it won’t be too long before it doesn’t exist at all.

    1. Actually Sire, I’ve never seen those beauty pageant shows, but there’s a weekly recap TV show that makes fun of reality shows that’s had a clip or two here and there. That’s some pretty shocking stuff, I must admit.

      And see, your wife would raise Cain if she saw your daughters dressed a certain way, so there you go. I’m not sure if you get Dr. Phil in Australia, but he used to have shows where mothers complained about the clothes their daughters were wearing, and he’d ask who bought those clothes since none of those girls had jobs. He did the same to parents who had boys wearing sloppy clothes so their behinds and underwear were showing. I just see it as being someone’s responsibility.

      1. Funny how you went off on me, yet Sire pretty much said the same thing.

        Sire’s wife would give his daughter a what for if she saw her in something not fitting.

        I said my husband made my daughter change out of her friends skirt.

        Did you miss that? Giving your whole rant regarding many parents abrogate their responsibilities and find other things and other people to blame things on.

        oh and FYI my daughter is 20, not pregnant despite her leaving the house and changing her clothes because she was trying to fit in with friends.

      2. Rose, look at your original comment. You came out in attack mode, and I responded the same way. On your blog, I have never attacked you first on anything you’ve ever written, but you’ve done it to me many times, like your original comment here, and you’ve also misunderstood comments I’ve made on your blog and attacked me. It’s like you take every general comment I made as a personal attack on you, when even you said you didn’t agree with how all parents raised their children. If I name you specifically, then attack me; otherwise, at least try being as civil to me as I try to be to you, unless I feel like I’ve been attacked. You know I’m not the backing down type; we’re nice, then we’re not, then we get past it most of the time. But you don’t have the right to ever say I’ve talked or done anything inappropriate on this blog, no matter what the topic is, without you looking back at some of your topics; that’s only fair.

        You also noticed Sire said what you said, then took it back after thinking about it. Here’s my thing; parents have kids, and it should be their responsibility to take care of them, manage them, etc. Based on my observations, it doesn’t happen across the board. I look at my friend Scott and how his daughters were raised and I’m overly impressed with both of them. It’s proof that parents can take charge and teach their children the right way, and not blame it on other things.

      3. I never came out in attack mode. You interrupted my comment as such.

        You got very offensive for my saying that I felt the add wasn’t right for the post.

      4. Man, I wish I could edit that comment some, especially as it makes me look like I’ve been drinking or something. What the hell was I thinking when I wrote, “I think that I reckon that”…..sheesh.

        As for those pageants they go all out on girls as young as five. I’m sure those pageants are a pedophiles dream come true.

      5. It just seems like one of the strangest ideas to me, Sire. I know most parents think their children are the most beautiful and the smartest but I’m not sure about the pageant thing overall.

      6. I have been enjoying the great debate here, particularly after Sire joined in and after having read Rose’s post and her post on the latest perfume to come to her notice.

        There is something that has been going on since the past two/three centuries that has brought us to this level of, shall we say, brazenness. I suspect that something to be the obsession with ‘Freedom’. Having got Freedom ‘from’ so many restraints, we appear to be running out of ideas of what we can do with Freedom ‘to’. Our young people are experimenting just as we did when we were young. I maintain that there is nothing called a generation gap and it is only a memory gap. The parent/grand parent of today rebelled in different ways when they were young and their elders were as aghast as we are today with our young. You will see in my own comment that the total environment is full of sexual innuendo and subliminal messages that being provocative is alright and if our societies can live with that level of open brazenness, we should be able to accept the modern young’s taste in clothes too.

      7. Rummuser, it’s almost as if things like this are cyclical. For instance, look at India now, then look at all those artifacts when India was a freaky country, and you know what I mean. Same with ancient Rome, with many of the things they did that were common and legal practice that now people frown upon, even though parts of Europe are definitely not as prurient as we are in the U.S. Modesty is definitely guided by culture and pushes the envelope as well. Overall I don’t really care what adults do, but when it comes to kids some stuff just bothers me and seems dangerous.

  13. There are many parents out there who, if they had to pass a simple test on raising kids, would have remained childless. At the same time, there are countless parents who have done their very best, worked hard, and worn themselves paper thin, and still the kids go off and do dumb things.

    It’s impossible to know what goes on in someone else’s home. Maybe there’s a single mother or father working two jobs to pay the bills, or maybe there’s a medical issue to deal with, or younger kids who need attention. When you see a fourteen-year-old girl dressed provocatively, it may be natural to think, “Where are the parents?” That thought goes through my mind. But it just might be an unfair question. Sometimes kids, especially teenagers, wear their parents out. I can’t think of any other way to say it: They wear you out. Parents are just human beings, with a limited supply of time and energy. And they are frequently in survival mode, trying to channel their efforts into all of the demands of family life. It usually comes down to priorities, and occasionally the dress code drops down the list.

    One other quick point: I think most people like what they’re told to like, and buy what they’re told to buy. I’m referring here to children, teens, and adults. If you go into most clothing stores, the vast majority of them seem to cater to teenage girls. And the stuff they have on display is the very stuff we’re talking about here: impossibly tiny shorts, blouses, and other things I wouldn’t be able to identify. The stores are screaming: “Look! This is what your favorite TV and pop stars are wearing, and this is what you should be wearing! Or don’t you want to fit in?” Sure enough, like some kind of mass hypnosis, most follow blindly. And once again, parents find themselves backed into a corner. If they give in, even momentarily, those are the results we all notice.

    1. I don’t know that parents can allow themselves to be “beat down” on certain things, Charles. In my mind, how can someone say they’re worried about pedophiles then send their daughters out looking like a pedophile’s dream? Goodness, why not just change the law and say that anyone who reaches puberty is legally an adult, then let them wear whatever they want if they pay for it?

      There are parents who give up under the pressure and there are parents who realize that they had kids and are responsible for them and hold the line. My parents said they stopped at one because they knew what their money situation was at the time and figured they could only afford one kid. I don’t believe most parents think along that route, and thus problems occur. I don’t doubt that parents get worn down sometimes, but isn’t safety supposed to be the first thing parents think of for their kids?

      1. “There are parents who give up under the pressure and there are parents who realize that they had kids and are responsible for them and hold the line.”

        I think that’s right. But I also think there’s a middle group — the ones who don’t give up, but the line gets broken anyway. For example, my wife and I did everything we could possibly do to rein her daughter in before she got herself into trouble. She lied to us repeatedly, made up wild stories about where she was and who she was with. We tried talking, punishing, therapy, and anything else we could think of. But short of locking the kid in the closet, what are you going to do? She got pregnant a month before her 17th birthday. I had predicted that very thing would happen, but sometimes the train is coming right at you and at some point, there’s nothing you can do.

        I don’t want to put words in Rose’s mouth, but I think that’s at least connected with what she was trying to say. It isn’t always fair to look at the results and assume bad parenting.

      2. Hi Charles, here’s a thought, what if that middle group’s problem resulted from the fact that those other parents let their kids get away with murder. It sure doesn’t help when you’re trying to do the right thing but you’re constantly hamstringed by those parents who’s parenting is somewhat lacking.

        Just a thought.

      3. I agree, Sire, I think that’s another piece of it. And the permissiveness of other parents is another way your kids put pressure on you, by saying stuff like, “You’re the only one who says no.” Or, “I’m the only person in the whole school who can’t stay out past midnight.” And as a parent, you’re torn between wanting to protect your child and not wanting them to be alienated from the group. That no-win situation is a pretty familiar place.

      4. I know what I’m talking about because I’ve been there, and it’s pretty hard seeing the disappointment and sometimes anger, the old I hate you scenario, but as a parent you have to stand firm. Hopefully when they’re older they’ll understand.

        Unfortunately it’s those ‘bad’ parents that stuff it up for the rest of us.

      5. In the initial post, I never said “bad parents”; I asked where the parents were. I think it’s like living with someone and not noticing the other person is losing weight; parents can get used to the fact that it’s their kids and not pay attention as much to the fact that bodies have changed somewhat. I’m not sure parents see what non-parents see, and that’s scary to me. It was the same when we were kids; we all knew the kids who smoked and did drugs, but it seems their parents never did, even on military bases.

        Still, my first thought will probably always be “where are the parents”. I mean, what else could I think first? “Look at that poor child?” “That’s a bad kid?” “Pizza slices are only $1.50 each”?

        The overall question is still about modesty and where it’s gone. When I was 14, there was only one girl who anyone wondered about as far as modesty in high school. These days, it just seems like the modesty battle has already been lost. Like I wrote in a comment, change the laws, make us more like Europe, and this question goes away.

      6. Charles that is just what I was trying to say! Thank you and that must have been a difficult time for your family. How is your daughter now?

        Mitch, perhaps it is time for you to “change” your way of thinking. You may not have said bad parents, however your initial remark “where are the parents” gives off that impression.

        Modesty was lost when media & marketing started sexualizing our youth.

      7. Well, we have a grandson who’s almost nine, and you know, a “mistake” like that early pregnancy becomes a little person who is part of the family. But at the time it was difficult. A child having a baby puts pressure on everyone.

        I understand Mitch’s feelings completely, too. There’s this sense of, How in the world did we get to this point? And where will it go from here? If the boundaries keep getting pushed farther out, will we eventually find ourselves having to resign ourselves to things that are beyond unacceptable? There seems to be no turning back. It’s unsettling.

      8. I too understand where he is coming from. I blogged about it just the other day regarding sex in advertising. I just don’t agree where Mitch appears to be placing all the blame.

    2. Charles you made just the point I was trying to make.

      Mitch, you blame a child and her parents because a pedophile is attracted to children?

      Who says the parents send their child out looking this way? Again, you assume.

  14. I definitely think today’s modesty issues among teens have something to do with the influences they got from peers as well as in any forms of media. They see all kinds of “cool” stuff on TV and magazines, considering them to be more acceptable to their age group if they try to follow what’s “in” these days. And the parents being okay about it adds to the problem.
    I just hope parents do still remind their kids of the appropriateness of what they wear, it doesn’t have to be too bundled up but they should also emphasize the harms on wearing clothes that are too sexually encouraging for people who might just think of doing something bad to them.
    At least, in that way, we can be involved in trying to mold our kids to be respectable individuals in the society.

    1. Thanks for your thoughts, Georgina. I know some parents get tired of having this battle with their kids, and I do know that there’s so much skin out there by celebrities that they set some of these standards, but one has to hope that discretion is learned to some degree. I still have my prediction, though, that in 5 years more than 75% of every girl turning 18 will have taken a nude picture of herself on her phone.

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