The idea that a woman’s identity and value lay in what she wore, and not in her character.
One of the most common claims against the flapper was that she was cheap. A lot of women’s magazines, books and magazines told young little girls to dress in a cheap and revealing way and that was that. But that isn’t true, I say. The women who wore such cheap clothing were not poor women. The young girls who wore it needed to have the kind of clothing that a respectable woman would have. They needed to look like any wife or mother would have.
This does not mean that a woman’s worth depended purely on the amount of clothes she wore. But it does mean that a woman’s clothing could not be a substitute for her character.
These two things are mutually exclusive, because a woman’s clothing or makeup is only her means of expressing her personality. A woman’s personality is what makes her a person, not a bag of clothes. And for that to be true, a woman needs her character to be her true worth.
Some people think women didn’t need to make any type of difference until the 1950s because no one thought about it. Well, yes. But we should also remember that we were told at the time by many of our own feminist activists that women needed to make more visible changes than what they had already tried.
And so many times that was true, women’s clothes were considered the best means of expression possible in many of our most popular magazines.
The Flappers’ Fashion Took off
By the early 1950s the fashion industry had begun to realize that it needed women who could look and talk and act just like the men. There was not nearly the same amount of emphasis on women’s body types. And there was no shortage of the flappers who could do it.
As early as the summer of 1955, the most popular women in the country took the stage at Fashion Week in New York. Among them were Betty Grable, Betty Friedan, and Grace Kelly.
Grable wore nothing but a short white dress with a gold belt. Her hair was platinum-white and she had a big golden ring on her left hand. She also had her breasts puffed out on top and her stomach and hips well defined, with a short skirt.
It was the height of the ’60s and many women were wearing long skirts, short skirts and blouses. There wasn’t even a separate fashion called
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