English 120 A 018
3 February 2014s
How the Flapper Flew In
“The ideal woman now… was self-sufficient, intelligent, capable, and active. She possessed skills and had acquired needs unknown to her mother. The influx of well –educated single and married middle-class women into the professions, public service and business resulted in the creation of a new class of women who constituted a growing and lucrative market” (Yellis). An excerpt from Kenneth A. Yellis’ “American Quarterly”, this quote expresses the immense social, economic, and physical changes which occurred in American culture during the 1920’s. A new ideal for the American woman had emerged, in result of a thirst for more than abidance of traditional social limits Since technological advancements allowed for mass-advertising and mass-production, women of any class were easily able to replicate this look. The flapper, a giddy, attractive, and slightly unconventional young thing, was the desired influence of the personal fashion of many women of the era. Rena Sanderson, Associate Professor of the Boise State University Department of English, claims that throughout the decade, there was a “shift from activist feminism to lifestyle feminism”, a s well as an alteration in the distribution of power between men and women (Sanderson). The effects of WWI also influenced the rise of the flapper trend, as it pulled women into the workforce, and, later, a man’s world of sport. The 1920’s is where “modern fashion” is first seen, as women craved a social independence from men, and attempted to claim it by expression through dress.
In result of men shipping off to war, women had to keep up with the buzz of society, entering the workforce (Rosenburg). This changed the entire social status of the country, breaking the norm of feminine vs. masculine roles. There appeared to be a sudden rejection of traditional manners and morals, as women felt no longer content as the subordinate...