Women were not only less visible at work, they weren’t allowed to act as active spokespeople for men’s rights. They weren’t allowed to challenge the status quo. Instead, the way this worked is that you had to prove your manhood in every public forum with a placard, sign, or even a phone number.
For example, I did a book tour for this book in 2008. During one stop, I was approached by a customer-service rep and told that the book didn’t come with a pamphlet. She thought I had lost my cool and would be fined. It was the height of rudeness, which she was clearly aware of, since she told me to walk away or I would be sent home. She didn’t even try to explain how she was mistaken; she simply said, in perfect English, “Shut up, you idiot!”
This man would not listen to a dissenting word. So she stood me up and threw me out of the store, where I was then confronted by a security guard. A customer-service rep came over, telling me I was a problem and told me to leave. I didn’t understand the situation and refused to leave. He continued with his insults, which were totally inappropriate.
The problem with being female, of course, is that we have a tendency to be less than perfect. We make bad choices about shopping, and we complain about the prices of products we love. Some of our choices have bad consequences, like wearing makeup or taking drugs. One woman I was talking to told me, “Look around you, it’s very clear that we’re not equal in this country”. I said, “You have no idea how hard it is to be a woman. We have to have more patience.”
Some of us were treated poorly, either by our bosses or by society at large. Because of this, we didn’t stand a chance.
The flapper did not change women’s roles. She raised awareness about how women were being treated. The question was asked: are women being treated fairly?
The flapper had her own agenda. She was taking an issue that many women had been working on for decades, and bringing it out in a bold, public way to challenge a system that was not fair to the women that she loved. This was one woman that the flapper made visible to her community.
This is one person who was able to show to society that, yes, women were equal.
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