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Women's Rights and Flappers from the 1920's

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Alec Chambers

on 1 February 2013

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Transcript of Women's Rights and Flappers from the 1920's

Women generally gained more rights in the 1920's, and the largest advancement in the movement for women's rights was the Nineteenth Amendment, giving women the right to vote (suffrage). Women's Rights In the Roaring Twenties, many changes in women’s lives were starting to happen, such as taking place in politics, changes at the home, the workplace, and also in education. Passed laws caused a number of these, yet technology also was a large factor. All, though, came from the morphing attitudes toward women in society. The Nineteenth Amendment was ratified in August 18,1920, just as this crazy decade was just beginning. It stated that no person should be denied the right to vote based on sex. An interesting fact is that Susan B. Anthony and a colleague of hers drafted this amendment in 1878, it took 41 years to get this ratified. Most women were ecstatic, and loved the right to vote. Others, though, took the opposite position in saying that the woman's place is at the household caring for her children, cleaning the house, and not to have many rights outside of that. They wanted different roles from men, gender seperation. Though women still didn't expect to go to college, women were involved in local, state, and national politics. As you'd expect, the reaction was there, but it probably isn't what you thought it would be. Politicians saw this as just a different game plan. Now they had to emphasize the issues that directly affected women, such as the health of children, the prohibition act, schools, and lastly peace. Most women, themselves, responded through the act of voting itself and for the most part shared the same behavior as men. Other Specific Ways Women were More Involved in their Society :
Amelia Earhart took her first flying lessons in 1921.
Bryn Mawr Summer School for Women Workers began in 1921.
Bessie Smith records Down Hearted Blues in 1923.
The first female member of National Academy of Sciences was Florence Sabin and this was in 1925.
Mary Breckinridge organizes Frontier Nursing Service in order to get health care to the remote areas of Eastern Kentucky in 1925.
Zora Neale Hurston registers her play ‘Meet the mama’ for copyright in 1925.
1928 was the first year that women were allowed to compete in the Olympics.


What's important to note is that theses changes didn't happen overnight. These took a long time. There were small steps that were taken in order to finally reach full equality. Though it could be argued that this quality isn't truly full, women have a whole lot more freedom then they did back in the day. FLAPPERS Flappers are the younger generation in 1920s
America. They were very stylish (for their time) and were usually wealthy. Flappers usually thought of themselves as better than others. Brutal Honesty, quick speed of life and sexual behavior usually charaterized the Flapper persona. Flappers were daredevils. They loved to take risks and were very reckless. Flappers loved the idea of ‘staying young’. Flapper in England meant two things, a younger woman being referred to as a young bird learning to fly, and from an earlier time,it was an English term meaning teenage girl/ young prostitute. Also, the term was Flapper was used in the movie entitled 'The Flapper' which popularized the term before the Roaring Twenties. There was a very distinct fashion that went with the flappers. The traits included things like straight skirts that went down to their knees, and the bob haircut which essentially is a short haircut that wraps around the face a bit. The Flappers wore clothing that allowed a lot of movement, mostly because they wanted to dance a lot to Jazz. There were many new activities that the flappers loved to do. They really liked to smoke. This is partially due to the fact that in advertizements the cigarette was used to complete the look of sophistication. Also, they liked to drink, a lot. This is pretty much due to prohibition, and the anarchy it caused. They liked to drive cars, and who can blame them.
They used new phrases to express approval of something with 'That's so Jake.' and ' That's the Cat's meow.'
They also used phrases as a way to sneak things around, like spies, but not as cool. They said things like, ' I have to go see a man about a dog' usually meant a whiskey run is happening soon, if not at that time, immediately. The older generation had a response, and it is probably exactly what you'd expect it to be. They disapproved of this new fashion saying that it's not in a woman's place to do what these women are doing (being fun-loving, wanting to party all the time, and wanting to live a happy life). Of course this disapproval usually led to more rebelling.
The Flappers response to this response is characterized by one quote “You must help us…The war tore our spiritual foundations and challenged our faith. We are struggling to regain our equilibrium” Flappers died out in 1929, just as the decade came to a close, sadly, this was due to the stock market crash and their lives would be horrible for roughly the next 10 years. FLAPPERS
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