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The Flapper image of the 1920's American history of cosmetics seems to transform the cultural image of the feminine. However, I cannot piece together exactly how this change came about. I read about the Gibson Girl and the new ideal of feminine beauty, but it doesn't quite explain how that fad became so immensely popular and widely adopted. Why was the mindset of the Flapper is so jarringly different from the women before that generation?

What is the history of Flappers and this new image of femininity?

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Wikipedia has a pretty thorough breakdown of the evolution and origins of flappers, so I would recommend checking it out. As far as whether or not they were important or why, both questions invite opinion, which is not what we strive for at SE. The question needs to have a clear and concise answer, and I don't believe this one does. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flapper –  Steven Drennon Feb 21 '12 at 20:40
I'd recommend watching PBS's "Ken Burn's Prohibition" documentary. It addressed the issue of Flappers and the related movements. –  World Engineer Feb 23 '12 at 18:49

1 Answer 1

Every so often in American history, we have a "girl power" movement. One appears to be happening right now, as we speak. That is, today's girls are graduating from college in greater numbers than boys, and getting better entry-level jobs. This appears to have no precedent in American or world history.

This "girl power" movement is an offshoot of their MOTHERS of the Baby Boom generation, which fought for EQUAL rights for women; access to a good education and high level jobs, including, in the case of Hillary Clinton, the chance to run for President of the United States.

Likewise, the Flappers was a "girl power" movement FOR ITS TIME. That is, fighting for the right for girls to wear "less restrictive" clothing, and otherwise act more like men. This, in turn, had been fueled by THEIR mothers of FDR's "Rendezvous With Destiny" generation, who fought for, and got the right of women to VOTE, under the 19th Amendment.

To address a comment below, the post-2000 "girl" (and Hillary) power movements were the result of "Women's Lib" in the 1960s, and likewise, the Flapper Movement of the 1920s was incubated by the women's rights movement of the 1890s, 30 years earlier. The commenter also reasonably wondered why the 1861-1882 "incubator" generation is associated with FDR (born 1882) and not TR (born 1858). (Like Obama with the Boomers, FDR was born at the end of "his" generation.) The reason is that it was FDR, and not TR, who said, "This generation has rendezvous with destiny."

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Do you perhaps mean TR, of Bull Moose Party and San Juan Hill fame, rather than FDR? You are off by at least 30 years. –  Pieter Geerkens Dec 1 '13 at 22:02
@PieterGeerkens: Here is the source for the "generational" alignment: amazon.com/Generations-History-Americas-Future-1584/dp/…. FDR was a member of what the book calls the "Missionary" Generation (which I call the "Rendezvous" in my own book). Born 1861-1882, it is the idealistic post (Civil) War generation that is most analogous to the Baby Boomers born after World War II. (Obama is arguably the new FDR.) The 19th Amendment (women's suffrage) was passed in 1920, and the daughters of these "Missionary" (or Rendezvous) women were the Flappers. –  Tom Au Dec 2 '13 at 3:31
@PieterGeerkens: Here's why you THINK I'm off. In our time, the "Women's Lib" of the l960s led to the "girl power" of today. And you're referring to a women's rights movement from the 1890s that led to the 19th Amendment of 1920, and later the Flapper Movement of the 1920s. I'm alleging two pairs of mother-daughter phenomena 30-40 years in duration. BTW, TR's Bull Moose movement was in 1912, closer to 1920 than 1890s. See the addendum above. –  Tom Au Dec 2 '13 at 13:35

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