I’ve heard that the flapper changed women’s roles, but I’m not sure that’s true. The flapper was a very different thing than the skirt-wearing, high-necked woman I see on television today. If, in today’s popular culture, you go to a restaurant, you’ll find a lot of ladies wearing skirts, high-necked dresses, and things like that. They don’t need to be sexy. But in the flapper period, when it was a little less formal than it is now, ladies dressed up. So that wasn’t a female role change. And when you say that the flapper changed female roles, what do you mean by that?
When men dress up they tend to dress like what they want their wife and their son to see them. And the woman of the time did not do that. So for example, you’ve got the first woman president, Eleanor Roosevelt, who used white stockings, a high neck, and a skirt. The men on the street didn’t know what she had on. So for the first time in their lives, the men were going to have to wear the women’s clothes to get into the place that the women wanted to be. And the women had to get into that place. There was a lot of excitement about it, I think.
What happened to the flapper?
Women, for the most part, wore dresses from the 1890s until the mid-1930s. But flappers started to come out of the 1920s, and it was the 1920s that saw the rise of the modern flapper. So the 1920s were the birth of the modern flapper.
The Flapper’s Dilemma
Is it about time we had another term for the women you see on television today, who don’t look too pretty to fit the modern, contemporary girl or boy’s standards?
I think that that’s an important aspect of the term flapper, but I think that to some degree you have to look at it in the context of what was happening in history and what was happening in culture. It’s not the same as a modern woman with a high top, or a high-necked man or a low necked man, or any other kind of modern woman. We don’t have any idea what a ‘modern’ woman looked like back then. The thing that I like about the term is that it recognizes the different types of women that could be seen
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