Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Flapper Era of the 1920’s

What is a Flapper? How did the Flapper era emerge? What effect did these Flappers have on women and the society of America at that time? And what effect do they have on women today?

The looks and attitudes of the Flapper did not emerge until the 1926, but the changing roles for women began during World War I. Since men were off to war, women had to step in and fill the roles of men. They were no longer just housewives, they entered the work force working in places where usually only men worked and wearing clothing that usually only men wore. Now that women were filling men’s roles, the rules, morals, regulations, cultural norms and structure of the American society were changing. As a result of the war, the once accepted conventions of society were no longer the same and it was hard for men and women of this generation to return to the original society that was in place before the war. Not only did these societal changes come with the end of the war, it came with the Jazz age, which then brought the Flapper era.

What did these Flappers of the 1920’s look like?

Flappers wore long, hour glass looking dresses, skirts and lingerie which revealed a great amount of their arms, legs, chests (which they tried to make as flat as possible) and backs, which before this time was very unheard of. Their hair was in a bob cut and hats were also a big accessory. Other accessories included many layers of beaded necklaces and rings, pins and brooches were also worn. The use of make up also emerged during this time. Flappers were heavy makeup that would accentuate their mouths and eyes.

What were the attitudes of these Flappers?

Women were learning that they had new freedoms because of their changing roles and they embraced it. Flappers of the 1920’s not only changed their appearance, they changed their attitude about how women should look and act. Flappers smoked, drank, embraced sex, listened to jazz and acted completely different than women did before the war. The were often called, “a different breed”.

How did the Flapper era emerge?

The Flapper era occurred because of women’s new position in society and their refusal to return to the way society was before the war. Since many men of their generation died during the war, women decided they were not going to waste their time waiting for the right guy to come, instead they were going to enjoy their time and enjoy it how they wanted. These decisions brought on new freedoms, attitudes, looks, goals, personalities and actions of women.

What effects did Flappers have on women of that time and today?

I believe Flappers gave women a way of expressing their new freedoms, attitudes, looks, goals and actions after the war. They changed the accepted roles of men and women, the ways of thinking of most people of that time and gave women a voice. Flappers showed that women were becoming stronger and that things of that generation and time period were going to change for being a woman. Not only did it affect the women of that time, it affects us today. If the Flappers did not take on the roles of men, go against the accepted ways of women in society at that time and change the looks and attitudes of women, strides for the positions, freedoms and judgment of women today would have not been made.

Allison Kanaman

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