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Flappers: An Evolutionary Step towards Greater Women's Liberation - Essay Example

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Name Date Course Section/# Flappers: An Evolutionary Step towards Greater Women’s Liberation It is unquestionable that the decade following The Great War was one of unimaginable social changes. The methodical and scientific destruction of humanity by both sides during the war lead many to question the very tenets of their faith in god and humanity…
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Flappers: An Evolutionary Step towards Greater Women's Liberation

Download file to see previous pages... A new era of literature, art, and music was born (Burleigh, 2). The term the “Lost Generation” was coined to refer to the aimless spirits that lent their creative talents towards describing the human condition at the time. Women’s suffrage had been won, the sale and distribution of alcohol had been prohibited (in the United States) and a generation of restless and increasingly affluent young people crowded towards the city. It is upon this backdrop of societal change that a new breed of woman arose; known both disparagingly and complimentary as the flapper. As with any changes to the norms of society, the flappers were born out of the social upheaval that was experienced as a result of the Great War. With the constraints of the old system being broken, the flappers were able to evolve under a new set of rules; no longer encumbered by the rules and norms of post-Victorian society. Many have dismissed the flapper movement as merely a fashion trend; however, this is not the case (Stamp, 12). This essay will briefly analyze the causal factors which led to the rise of the flappers, their outlook on life, their clothing as a symbol of rebellion towards the norms of the time, their role within the larger rubric of the feminist movement, and their sexual liberation coupled with their refusal to accept the post-Victorian gender roles of the time (Morey, 22). This analysis will attempt to explain each of the fundamental factors behind the rise of the flappers during the roaring twenties. Additionally, attention will be paid to the achievements which they unwittingly won for women in the 21st century. Furthermore, it is the belief of this analysis that the flappers were able to make a powerful foray into women’s rights. Although perhaps not fully recognized at the time, this opening salvo accounted for a powerful first step which would later be built upon by feminists throughout the 21st century. Because the appearance of the flappers was so stark in comparison with the norms of the time, this analysis will start with the motives and consequences that this style had on women both during and after the flapper generation (Swinth, 3-4). Without having an outstanding knowledge of fashion and style, even a layperson can easily identify the flapper style. Furthermore, this same lay person might understand with even the most rudimentary knowledge of female norms of dress and behavior of that time that the flappers openly flaunted a type of androgyny. Shorter skirts, higher hemlines, accentuation of slim boyish figure and waste (without drawing attention to the hourglass figure as had the Victorian style) were all attributes of the flapper’s style of dress. Furthermore, the breasts were not accentuated; instead, they were oftentimes pressed against the chest or not bound at all (Freadman, 15). Although this is not shocking to our current generation, complete dismissal of the norms of Victorian style was doubtless considered most rebellious and distasteful at the outset (The World Almanac, 4). Shorter hair styles further encouraged comparison to men/boys. The French even referred to flappers as “garconnes” – the word used for boys with a feminine ending added (New York Times, 3). However, it was not the garments, the hairstyles, or the makeup alone that ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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