In 'America's Women' Gail Collins writes, of the 'flapper'(the young fun-loving women of the 20s);
'The flapper was energetic, daring, and self-absorbed. She defined herself by her unrestrained clothing. She did not wear a corset,and she bared her arms. Her skirts went up to her knees, and she sometimes rolled down her sheer stockings, exposing her skin. But she hid her breasts. Her dresses hung straight down from the shoulders, and while she never used tight undergarments to sheathe her slim hips and middle, a flapper who had the bad luck to be amply endowed hid her breasts. It was a peculiar combination of sexuality and boyishness, and every young woman who was not very, very serious, wanted to be part of the excitement, no matter what her race, class, or economic status.
It was a disturbing time for the older generation who had grown up believing that they had a duty to make the world better. Women professors found themselves out of sympathy with the students they were teaching - Vid Scudder of Wellesley thought the 1920s wre the bleakest years of her professional career. Marjorie Nicolson of columbia looked out over the sleek heads of her female students and decided that her own era had been "the only generation of women which ever found itself". Jane Addams said girls' "astounding emphasis on sex" was disquieting, given the unique social contribution that "educated unmarried woman" had made for the last fifty years.
The younger women returned the disdain. A much-quoted article by "an ex-feminist" entirled "The Harm My Education Did Me" excoriated female academics as withered, bitter, man-haters who were warping their charges with "artifiicial standards of bygone feminists." The idea of finding one's personal satisfaction within a community of women went out the window. As women strove to become comrades and plas with the men in their lives,it sometimes seemed they had no emotional space for anyone else. "I think a woman gets more happiness out of...