The flapper is a type of man who goes to the club and, under the pretext of dancing, tries to seduce the woman of his dreams. The flapper in the club is a kind of romanticized stereotype. Flappers were often not as tall as a male model and had a thin, tight body type.
How did the flapper become a symbol of female empowerment?
The flapper was a symbol because in the 1920s, during the late 1920s to early 1930s, the women’s movement really took off. Women began to rise up in the workforce. So, at one time, in New York and other cities, men actually went to work and were harassed on the job. Then women began to put on makeup and clothes and dance in bars after hours. The women were creating a new social space. They were not only demonstrating their power but they were also demonstrating their sexuality and sexuality in a very provocative manner. And so, the flapper became a sort of symbol of what was happening in the middle of the 1920s.
Why were female flappers, in particular, so popular?
What is really interesting is that flappers — what the women of this period called “flappers” — became popular in a way that it is very uncommon in the world today. It was also very new. There were very few female flappers then, and certainly fewer than there are now. They came to the city in the early twenties and became very popular among women who were sexually liberated, who wanted to be free of a lot of the sexual taboos they lived by in that time period. They were creating these new social spaces that were very sexual, not only for women and men but actually for men. There used to be restrictions in the entertainment industry for women to be able to be in certain bars or certain nightclubs and to dance. If you went to some nightclub in NYC, they had regulations regarding what kind of clothes you needed to wear, and that changed in the 1920s. It changed very rapidly.
Do you think flappers were a sign of the times?
A lot of people talk of the “sexual revolution” of our time. I think what’s happening is that, you know, we’re so used to social pressures against men being objectified, that it’s just kind of inevitable. And a lot of women in that era looked at what was happening and felt empowered — they felt liberated — by these events in the middle of the 1920s