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Flappers: the Counterculture of the 1920s

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Lily Jacobs

on 15 June 2015

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Transcript of Flappers: the Counterculture of the 1920s

The Flappers

Fashion and Behavior
Flappers of the 1920s they shortened their hemlines and wore makeup.
Coco Chanel helped popularize the flapper look.
They went to jazz clubs, vaudeville shows, and speakeasies (illegal bars)
They danced the Charleston and the Black Bottom in which they flapped their arms around, hence the “flappers”
Wanted to be treated the same as men- adopted shorter hairstyles, abandoned corsets, smoked and drank in public, and were open about sex

Political and Social Agenda
Flappers did not necessarily for equal rights, birth control, women’s suffrage, etc.
They rejected the Victorian-era conventions and rebelled against the expected gender role of women.
Did not concern themselves with political/social issues they just wanted to have fun--Hedonistic lifestyle

The Roaring Twenties
By Lauren Waldman, Emily Bean, Becca Lieberman, and Lily Jacobs
Flappers: the Counterculture of the 1920s
“They were smart and sophisticated, with an air of independence about them, and so casual about their looks and clothes and manners as to be almost slapdash. I don't know if I realized as soon as I began seeing them that they represented the wave of the future, but I do know I was drawn to them. I shared their restlessness, understood their determination to free themselves of the Victorian shackles of the pre-World War I era and find out for themselves what life was all about.”
-Colleen Moore on Flappers
After World War I, many young men did not return home from World War I
many women without husbands.
life was fleeting and death could come at any moment
Industries advanced and expanded
i.e. automobile industry.
rise of cars gave many women more independence
popular resentment towards the prohibition laws (started in 1920).
Speakeasies, or illegal liquor store/night club became popular
Widespread alcohol, despite prohibition laws and enforcements, fostered contempt for authority, which encouraged the flapper lifestyle.
northern, urban, single, young, middle-class women, many with steady jobs in the changing American economy
Worked at the department stores that emerged out of the consumer-oriented economy of the 1920s

Where There's Smoke There's Fire
Clara Bow and Josephine Baker
labeled the "It girl" of the 20s.
She had “it”, or “a quality of open sexuality, innocence, and fun” that defined the flappers
She was a fashion icon, a silent film actress and was famous for her many scandals.

American-born French Dancer
Different from many other flappers; emerged from poverty doing work such as cleaning houses
Became a renowned dancer
Had to overcome stereotypes (she was African American)
Worked to fight against discrimination and segregation

The stock market crashed in 1929, and the Great Depression devastated the nation
The hedonistic attitude of the Roaring Twenties came to a halt.
Women married and settled into time-consuming jobs with little pay.
Fashion was still dramatically changed for decades to come; hemlines stayed above the ankle, and women abandoned the corset.
Newfound independence for women

End of the Flapper Era
What style clothing did the Flappers wear?
What were the major political and social reform movements of this era that the Flappers were involved in?

What comes to mind when you think of the Flappers?
Full transcript