Anne Greene here.
The flapper became the symbol of young women who championed new ideas about womanhood. Women no longer submitted to strict Victorian morality. Instead, they changed the social status of women by transforming the concept of the ideal woman.
In previous decades, the Gibson Girl, with her long luxurious hair, her hourglass figure, and elegant tailored gowns, had been the model of femininity. She was corseted, educated and accomplished, and her first priorities were finding a husband and starting a family. The Gibson Girl used flirtation and femininity to achieve her ends.
Flappers rebelled against this model of womanhood.
Flappers cut off the
long hair their mothers had prized,
favoring the short bob. They rejected
the waist-constricting corset, and the hourglass figure it created. Their
loose-fitting dresses, with drop
waists and knee-length skirts, created a more boyish silhouette, which some
women enhanced by binding their breasts. Flappers wore makeup, which had previously been associated only with
prostitution. Make-up's new popularity also changed the way it was used;
instead of attempting to imitate nature, flappers used cosmetics to create
small bow mouths and pale skin. This was a stark contrast to the rosy look
their mothers had prized. However, young women in the 1920s wanted not only to look different from their mothers, they
wanted to act differently too.
Flappers rejected traditional rules of propriety in favor of a more modern, fast-paced lifestyle. They were frank and socially liberated, some acting in ways that shocked their elders. Young women engaged in activities previously limited to men, such as smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol – even though Prohibition made drinking illegal. They listened to jazz music and danced new, energetic dances, like the Charleston and the Black Bottom, despite objections that these dances were wild and obscene. They loved automobiles finding their speed and risk a perfect fit, and insisted on driving.
Young women in the 1920s distinguished themselves from their Victorian counterparts in their attitudes about sex. Flappers followed Freud and believed that both women and men had sexual desires that were natural, not shameful. Older generations found this interest in sex immodest, but flappers saw it as an expression of women's right to a full life. They criticized Victorian ideas about gender roles, seeing them as impediments to women gaining social equality with men.
Flapper culture instigated some baby steps towards a more liberal society, but many of the attempts to make changes in acceptable behavior and gender roles failed. Most young women who cut their hair and dressed like flappers did not go to the extremes of flapper behavior. This made flapper culture more acceptable to the population, but watered down its message of social change.
Flappers wanted more equality with men in the business world as well as the social world. Women had just won the right to vote and wanted the right to work in the non-traditional women’s jobs like teaching and shop work.
I’m writing a book set in the 1920s about one such flapper. The working title is CUPID GOES BARNSTORMING. Gloria is an orphan trying to make a living. Here's a picture of my heroine.
If you had been living in the 1920s would you have remained at home like the Gibson Girl or would you have wanted wider spaces? Leave a comment for a chance to win my new book just released, MARRIAGE BY ARRANGEMENT.
ANNE GREENE delights in writing about wounded heroes and gutsy heroines. Her second novel, a Scottish historical, Masquerade Marriage, won the New England Reader Choice award, the Laurel Wreath Award, and the Heart of Excellence Award. The sequel Marriage By Arrangement released November, 2013. A Texas Christmas Mystery also won awards. She makes her home in McKinney, Texas. Tim LaHaye led her to the Lord when she was twenty-one and Chuck Swindoll is her Pastor. View Anne’s travel pictures and art work at http://www.AnneGreeneAuthor.com. Anne’s highest hope is that her stories transport the reader to an awesome new world and touch hearts to seek a deeper spiritual relationship with the Lord Jesus. Buy Anne’s books at http://www.PelicanBookGroup.com. Or at http://www.Amazon.com. Visit http://www.anneswritingupdates.blogspot.com for great information on writing an award-winning novel. Talk with Anne on twitter at @TheAnneGreene. Visit Anne’s Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/AnneWGreeneAuthor.