Abstract: U.S.A. in the 1920s was the age of the Jazz, the Motor Car, the Dollar, the Hollywood, the Prohibition, the Dapper and his Flapper. The Flapper rose out of the battle dust of crumbling patriarchy in a Chanel dress, bobbed hair, scarlet lips with a cigar, dancing to the throbbing rhythm of Jazz – and defined, in head and heart, the decade of the Roaring Twenties. She showcased her outrageous all ‘fags[1] and hooch[2]’ lifestyle in public, befriended gangsters, and flirted in the backseat of a Ford until the Crash of 1929 snatched away what she held most dear – freedom. As the 1930s commenced, she became an oblivious, sensual creature of a prosperous post – war era, reminisced for her flamboyant sexuality (and feminism?), a reversed morality and scandalous mannerism. Her rise was spectacular, so was her fall – yet in that mere decade – long existence, she left behind the undaunted legacy of the independent and modern “New Woman” who was the custodian of her own life and fortune. Interestingly, she inhabited both shores of the Atlantic – but never did her bravado steeped such a ‘shocking’ altitude, as it did in the U.S; for here, she did something more than be the carrier of transition from the ‘Old’ to the ‘New’. She made the situation appear as a ‘revolutionary departure’ from tradition, and not necessarily for the better; influenced a new generational identity as well as reconfigured the bowery of the ‘public’ and the ‘private’, successfully merging the two. Who was the American Flapper? What circumstances caused her advent? Was she the inevitable product of change and adjustment? What did she really represent – freedom or conformity? And was she really as radical as she is perceived in popular memory? This paper seeks to examine the rise of the American Flapper, and the many dimensions of her life in the Jazz Age and analyse the exact nature of ‘radicalism’ and ‘rebellion’ which her label so – commanded.

Keywords:  Flapper; Jazz Age; Roaring Twenties; Sexuality; Freedom; Adjustment; Conformity; New Woman; Tradition; Radicalism.

“Flappers are we

Flappers and fly and free.

Never too slow

All on the go

Petting parties with the smarties.

Dizzy with dangerous glee

Puritans knock us

Because the way we’re clad.

Preachers all mock us

Because we’re not bad.

Most flippant young flappers are we!”[3]

The defining silhouette of the Roaring Twenties[4], immortalized in the writings of Scots FitzGerald, the career of Lois Long, the couture of Coco Chanel, the music of Vincent Youmans, and the lifestyle of Zelda FitzGerald; the Flapper[5] “awoke from her lethargy of subdeb-ism, bobbed her hair, put on her choicest pair of earrings and a great deal of audacity and rouge and went into the battle.”[6] Her rise was phenomenal, more so her decay and death, but in the small decade she lived her life, she gave the two coastlines of the Atlantic her modernity and culture, leaving behind a legacy that is revisited now and then.

The American Flapper: Stuck in the “Middle Age”?

Born in the 1920s, the Flapper was the supreme manifestation of a youth stuck at the “splendid crossroad” of a “primal modern age”[7] “where the past met the future in a jumble of personal anxieties and an urgent need for social self-definition”: a problem it remedied by a movement that combined disillusionment and optimism[8]. “Throughout the decade, personal adjustments, cultural accommodations, and social reconstruction were taking place everywhere in society— that long suspended ambivalence, the tension between modern and traditional modes of thought and behaviour, was finally played out, and the social changes that had been remaking America for decades finally congealed into a pattern which would shape life in the twentieth century.”[9] Walter Lippman stated –

The evil which the old-fashioned preachers ascribe to the Pope, to Babylon, to atheists, and to the devil, is simply the new urban civilization, with its irresistible scientific and economic and mass power. The Pope, the devil, jazz, the bootleggers, are a mythology which expresses symbolically the impact of a vast and dreaded social change. The change is real enough . . . . It involves a test of strength between social orders, and when that test is concluded … the fall will bring down with it the dominion of the older civilization.[10]

Historians, however, negate this “knotty process by which Americans adjusted to change”[11] into an Age that symbolized the flat, unstable caricature of a country fleeing the horrors of reality[12]. Consequently, in all its importance, the 1920s is referred for its ‘infamous’ cultural legacy – a product of “war – cynics, despairing intellectuals and decadent artists, who simplified the society by renouncing it as phony and irrelevant.”[13]

Jazz America – a stormy nutshell.

Indeed, the Age was a socio – cultural and ideological tempest with shredded political changes embedded in an over – whelming economic prosperity. Second in impact were the “consolidated, accelerated and confirmed intellectual responses to modernity”[14] and the “ideas about social, technological and scientific changes that emerged in the philosophies and ideologies[15] of the time. The First World War (1914 – 1919) exposed the bankruptcy of social idealism, submerging U.S.A. into a “moral and industrial eclipse”[16]. The pre – war Victorian ideals proved to be too fragile for a re – establishment, providing no consolation in a country, appeared to be torn by chaos and conflict. Like President Harding’s promise, the country chose to revert back to ‘normalcy and stability’[17] with the aid of cynicism, rather than revolution. “The recovery of society and democracy appeared intertwined with the rebuilding of national cultural values on a new world stage, yet there was no consensus on the shape that this new culture should take”[18]. Nevertheless, as the 1920s emerged, the youth began to indulge in a “post war reconstruction [that] depended upon ‘reconstruction in philosophy’ that would rebuild national culture and revive democracy[19]”, by overthrowing the decayed past.[20] The philosophy of action, rather than ideas – Pragmatism was employed to create action “informed with vision, imagination, reflection” that would project a future with the desirability of the present in the respective “instrumentalities of its realization”[21]. Another ideological force in this context was the psychoanalytic theories[22] of Freud, Jung, Adler and Frank – that counteracted the prevalent pessimism by providing new channels of social progress toward a ‘stable’ future.

“Flapperdom has become a game; it is no longer a philosophy.”[23]

Zelda FitzGerald.

The Victorian Gibson Girl – When being curvy was sexy!

The Flapper rose out of this dilemma, replacing the Gibson Girl with the New Woman, and making way for the scandalous stereotypes like Betty Boop and Minnie the Moocher to emerge. Prior to the 1920s, the feminine ideal of physical attractiveness in the United States was the Gibson Girl of the 1890s, created in the pen and ink caricature illustrations[24] of Charles Dana Gibson. Her hallmark was her youthful features and ephemeral beauty, combining elements of older American images of Caucasian female beauty, such as the “fragile lady” and the “voluptuous woman”[25].  She was not just the pictorial representative of the Victorian Era – she stood for all the societal values of domesticity and feminine subjugation, though “both undermining and sanctioning women’s desires for progressive socio – political change”.[26] Her disconcerting contemporary was the educated, modern and freer New Woman[27] “who symbolized the disruption, and change within the old patterns of social order”[28]. She pushed the limits set by the male – dominated society, exercising control over her own life, and appearing as the teasing equal of her man. The Flapper idolized this New Woman – scorning her demure counterpart, she appeared as the more refined form of this feminist ideology who harped on her new found ‘freedoms’ to strengthen her label. She arose from post – war philosophy, only to define a new reality and live behind a legacy, coruscant.

The “Hourglass” sexy – The “New” Flapper “Woman!

‘‘I shared their restlessness, understood their determination to free themselves of the Victorian shackles of the pre – World War I era and find out for themselves what life was all about.’’

Colleen Moore[29].

The ‘new freedoms’ bestowed to her came in different avatars – political, economic, social and personal.  Foremost came education and suffrage. The Gibson Girl was envisioned as someone who attended college and emancipated freedom to the extent that she could enter the workplace of the World War era America. However, she kept the traditions of her small community, cementing the long standing beliefs of the ‘Old’ society, and keeping away from political involvements. Her attitude clicked with the first wave of feminism[30], that was seeking to offer women a more extensive and practical education that would find her a place in the public man’s institutional domain. The New woman came out as the aggressive receptor of this opportunity, she attended college and university, exposing herself to professional education in prestigious all – female colleges: in 1900, there were 85,338 female college students in the United States and 5,237 earned their bachelor’s degrees; by 1940, there were 600,953 female college students and 77,000 earned bachelor’s degrees[31]. Education added the white – collar woman to the bulk of female labour, who had been engaged in the pink – collar workforce since the War. She took up unconventional ‘male dominated’ employment in offices, government agencies, factories, stores, and even humanitarian fields, particularly in cities, earning higher wages than before. The 6.4% of the 1870 women professionals grew to 13.3% in the 1920s. By 1920, nearly one-fourth of the workforce (23.6%) was female, with 8.3 million females, aged 15 and up, working outside the home[32] – an indication of women gaining economic power and freedom. These women laid the foundation of the Flapper.

Work clothes of Women in the 1920s U.S.

This boasting of female education could be attributed to her contemporary political events.  As the important role of women in the war effort impressed itself on the public, their demand for a greater role in the country’s economy and government intensified. The 1870s drove home the woman crusader as she struggled to keep a constant vigil over a sober home and a husband; her prohibitionist vanguard against alcohol signalled the beginning of the Prohibition Era. “She played a vital role in the advocacy of progressive causes in the time of President T. Roosevelt and the muckrakers Nellie Bly and Lincoln Steffens”[33]. These generated political momentum in favour of female suffrage – a temperament from which rose the Suffragette Movement of 1918 under Carrie Chapman Catt[34]; and in August 1919, the American women got their ‘right’ with the 19th Amendment of the Constitution – one woman, one vote.

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The Women Suffragette Movement in the late 1910s.

The passage of the Amendment sounded the starting bell for a decade of revolutionary change in the social and economic position of women in the United States. As the New Woman found herself availing to education, profession and suffrage, she demanded greater independence, especially sexual autonomy. This was entertained by Margaret Sanger[35] in 1921 – 23, who advocated the legitimization of the radical bohemian notion of birth control[36] as a family planning tool; at the peak of the eugenics movement[37], which purported that the human population could reach its highest ideal through selective reproduction. By 1923, Holland Rantos had invented the contraception of the rubber diaphragm. The second fulfilment came with the changes concerning divorce – both legal and mental; that permitted a woman to survive a difficult marriage and divorce with her economic independence intact. This right, almost a prerogative “to broad social participation, and to sexual satisfaction seemed to threaten above all the stability of the home, once the keystone of the social order, for it undermined the imperatives to marriage”[38]. Yet, as her new position of freedom and choice was grudgingly accepted, maintaining social respectability while exercising legal rights became easier for her. In 1870, the divorce rate was a mere 3.3%. This rate rose to 8.1% in 1900 and to 13.4% in 1920.[39] These two measures, backed by government laws and conventions, made the middle class working woman overcome the social obstacles of intercourse and matrimony, instilling in her a sense of confidence and empowerment and it is not surprising that she didn’t want the previous social structure to return[40].

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The FitzGeralds fuelled a “MOTOR – CAR” culture.

Another factor that enriched this freedom was urbanization and the enhanced role of technology in human life. As the United States was becoming increasingly urban, technology was advancing at faster speeds and mass production was becoming a way of life. In fact, industrial production increased by 60% during this decade, outstripping population growth, which was closer to 15%. Mass production reduced costs and pumped money into the economy, feeding its expansion.[41] More than toasters, radios, washing machines and televisions, what made a greater impact was the appearance of motor cars in the urban scenario. Henry Ford’s manufacturing technology[42] handed the Model T Ford to the youth for $295, bridging the obvious status difference between the rich and the poor and making the terms – “automobile” and “modern” synonymous[43]. In 1919 the United States had approximately 6.8 million cars and a population of 105 million. Car ownership nearly quadrupled during the 1920s, with 23 million cars on the road by 1929, when the population was 122 million.[44] The automotive possibility became the conduit to ‘amusing’ vices away from prying elderly eyes – providing scope for greater occupational and personal mobility[45] to jazz clubs, parties and speakeasies and inaugurating the beginning of unchaperoned females riding with male strangers, “petting parties” in the back seat of Flivvers[46], and “prostitution on wheels”[47]. Technology also changed the face of entertainment – the “talkies”[48] became the shrine, attracting 57 million pilgrims each week by 1927[49]. Hollywood was revered as the ultimate heaven, as the movies gave the middle – class and working – class youth a glimpse of the ideal luxurious lifestyle, as well as the promises and expectations of the Twenties[50] – “A chicken in every pot, a car in every garage, film star beauty for every adolescent girl, and perhaps an adultery for every marriage.”[51] The booming economy alongside developments in recording, radio and sound technology sustained the lewd craze of Jazz – revolutionising this music of multiracial origins into one considered representatively American for all time. In fact, ideas about the social, technological and scientific changes that accompanied technology, intruded in the philosophies of the era.

Jazz Age America – when mass consumption became a religion!

Technological changes gave an additional boost to the new freedom in social attitude that mirrored the expanding consumerism of the 1920s. In order for mass production to become financially profitable and therefore sustainable, there must also be mass consumption[52] —which meant that for the first time in history it was a key for manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers to appeal to the tastes of large demographic groups. Not surprisingly, advertising hit new strides in this era, tempting people with discretionary income to purchase the latest of fashions and the sleekest new automobiles, and to spend freely at nightclubs and restaurants and theatres.[53] This homogenized the country into a singular national culture and recreated behavioural patterns into a standardized American life. The rise of the consumerist culture had the most dramatic effect on the role of American women[54]. New appliances and ‘synthetic’ food allowed women to spend less time in the household and get involved in the out – going modern lifestyle. This lifestyle transformed them into consumers who made departmental stores, magazines and mail orders their life.[55] Ford’s functionalism was motivated by a desire to reach the mass market, while designers like Le Corbusier and Chanel saw a kind of beauty in the clean, simple line and efficiency of the machine, which could be reproduced in their work through the pure function of carefully chosen materials.[56] It also allowed “the working class women to dress in facsimiles of what only the rich would have otherwise worn, and these more affordable fashions allowed these women to change their personal styles as trends dictated”[57]. Mass – marketed clothing and cosmetics blurred the line between the respectable and the fallen, the rich and the poor, the Northerner and Southerner – “the flapper was a role that every young woman could play”[58].

“The social butterfly type… the frivolous, scantily-clad, jazzing flapper, irresponsible and undisciplined, to whom a dance, a new hat, or a man with a car, were of more importance than the fate of nations.”[59]

The Flapper – Bringing about ‘dutiful’ human degradation since the 1920s.

These changes triggered a transformation in the American woman, the main stabilizer of the 19th century and her ‘perverted’ mannerism became a representative of the overall changes that had taken place. It is this mannerism and self – expression that the paper seeks to explore – how the American woman became the Flapper, cutting across older patterns of identification and association and being emancipated in her clothing and appeal against authority, to flaunt a high – spirited volatile, hedonist in her attitude, that was to became the cause of the impending “demoralization” of the nation.

“We need to put more effort into translating art into the daily life of the people. If we could surround ourselves with forms of beauty, the evil things of life would tend to disappear and our moral standards would be raised. . . . Our country has reached a position where this is no longer a visionary desire, but is becoming an actual reality.”

President Coolidge.[60]

The Flapper belonged to the best neighbourhoods of New York and Chicago, and represented the wealthy middle – class urbanites who sought to dominate the national conversation through newspapers, magazines and radio. Indeed, “fashion” was a new word that entered conversations, and the Flapper self – consciously developed ideas about style, poise and humour along her lines of freedom. Internationalism[61] aided her; and in time, besides her ‘relevant behaviour’, her style became the statement of the era, reflecting the radical mind – set of a romantic escapist in the age of the machine and the tubular cut.

“Mary had a little skirt,
The latest style no doubt,
But every time she got inside,
She was more than halfway out.”[62]

Outrageous Fashionistas!

The peeling away of genteel manners was only the first line of attack; clothing styles, however proved to be more outrageous![63] The 1920s silhouette was a tube from shoulder to knee or mid-calf, with the bust flattened, waist ignored, hips smooth and often fullness below the knee. Greta Garbo and other “It Girls”[64] became the “look” that the fashionable “flappers” of all classes wanted—flat chested, square shoulders, narrow hips and long legs. They also adopted Garbo’s relaxed, sophisticated posture called the “slouch.”[65] Iris Storm, the heroine of Michael Arlen’s novel The Green Hat, became a style icon in her leather jacket and green Parisian cloche hat.[66] The 1920s had the shortest clothes in history, pioneered by renowned couturiers[67] in well – established fashion houses on both sides of the Atlantic, (like Callot Soeurs, Jacques Doucet, Lucile, Paul Poiret, Worth, Coco Chanel, Madeleine Vionnet, and Elsa Schiaparelli); who espoused the philosophy of “minimal and modern”. The French “garconne[68] look – flattened breasts beneath the new shapeless fit and revolutionary brassiere[69] – came in vogue, hued in geometric modernity, decorative motifs from different ‘primitive’ cultures[70], oriental styles[71] with historic and exotic themes, and shapes of contrasting “colour, dismantled, and reassembled rather like a Cubist painting by Picasso or Braque”[72]. Social convention demanded that clothes be appropriate for the time of day, the activity, or the formality of the occasion[73]; nevertheless, the most popular was the revealing “Flapper Dress” – “straight and loose, leaving the arms bare (sometimes no straps at all) and dropping the waistline to the hips”[74] – the consequence of the rapid spread of American Jazz and the popularization of Jazz that accompanied it. “Silk or rayon stockings were held up by garters. Skirts rose to just below the knee by 1927, allowing flashes of leg to be seen”[75]. Other styles coexisted like ‘cross – gendered dressing’, working clothes, and the Bohemian alternative[76] of large checked suits, black cloak, tweed jackets, and corduroy trousers. Underwear, too, was modernized as linen or cambric panties, tight-laced corsets worn over camisoles, layers of petticoats and waists were abandoned in favour of flesh – coloured brassieres and camiknickers— an all-in-one garment combining camisole and panties.[77] Comfortable and practical, these clothes became a national and peer identity, yet what is interesting here is the paradox embodied within – these “emphasized her boykin characteristics, and her gamin quality, while consciously heightening her sexual piquancy”.[78] Flouncing and ‘sophisticated’, these clothes freed the Flapper from the necessities of Victorian formality and inhibition allowing her to participate in the ‘male domain’ and display her new sexual maturity. The stressing on ‘harsher’ androgynous countenance also had a mission – the “redressal of the post – war imbalance of men and women”[79]. These two distinct but related necessities arose out of the new access between the sexes; and served a symbolic and functional role in the new web of gender – relations. “They expressed not conflict but a well – poised tension between the informal boyish companion and the purposeful erotic vamp”.[80]

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Louisa Brooke – flaunting the Flapper “BOB”!

The “Bobbed hair” – the “badge of Flapperdom” – enhanced this attire of rebellion. Bob – cut, Eaton crop, or shingle bob was sported with the newsboy cap, cloche hat, tam and beret – kaffiyehs that carried coded love symbols[81]. A daunted release from the weight of tradition, this hair – styling prevailed, topicalizing the female right to sexuality and self – expression.  It was “often attacked as a symbol of female promiscuity, of explicit sexuality, and of a self-conscious denial of respectability and the domestic ideal. But its strange blend of pragmatism and ideological sexuality”[82] couldn’t be denied. It was carefree and less troublesome than the pre – war de rigueur long ponderous mane, facilitating indulgence in ad – hoc and informal activities like sports as well as remaining well – groomed during increasingly demanding work hours.[83] At the ideological level, this prudish ‘mannish’ compactness implied female eroticism and liberation from sexual stereotypes. It emphasized the woman’s more informal existence and behaviour, allowing her to feel equal with men and unencumbered by a traditional symbol of her different role.[84]

Bee – stung Red lips!

Hot Lips! Hot lips! I do like you. Yes, every word is true! I really like you”.[85]

The Jazz Age was famous for its quest for ‘plastic and vain beauty’. While plastic surgery was far from its “legitimate status”, the beauty business of cosmetics[86] became the “clear reflection of the morale of American womanhood.”[87] By the end of the 1920s, American women were spending $10 billion per year on their appearance. Harper’s wrote –

A quarter of a century ago perfume, rice powder, and “anti-chap” for the hands constituted the entire paraphernalia of a woman’s boudoir table. Now that table looks like a miniature chemist shop. . . . Rouge, lipstick, tints for hair and nails, dark paste for lashes and brows are established aids to superior grooming. Regardless of age, background, and social status, women have accepted the new standards borne in by incessant waves of propaganda, As a result feminine beauty, once the Creator’s business, is now Big Business’s.[88]

With the self – conscious sexuality in the open, the Flapper unabashedly took to this artificial scheme of enhancing her physical attractiveness. It was a declaration of liberty, “an outward sign of the escape from convention which made women appear cruder and purposefully solicitous of the rawer instincts in men”[89]; for the use of cosmetics was considered provocative and associated with quiffs and loose morals. “Critics saw the accoutrements of prostitutes afflicting respectable society”[90] – “by appropriating the right to use such sexual aids, respectable women proclaimed that they too were endowed with a sexual personality”[91]. Yet as the twenties progressed, “applied cosmetics on faces highlighted by black kohl-rimmed eyes and primary red lips became accepted symbols of the new age. Makeup was synonymous with emancipation—and a beautiful, slender body and easy-fitting, lightweight clothes set the standard of feminine beauty”[92].

“More women now do the same work as men do.… Cigarettes, which are equated with men, become torches of freedom.”[93]

Smoking to live!

Smoking was perhaps the one most potent symbol of young woman’s testing of the elbow room provided by her new sense of freedom and equality.[94] As the 1920s progressed, the Flapper emerged as the cigarette – wielding “Hussie”, to whom “smoking is a sublimation of oral eroticism”[95]. It boosted the American tobacco market, and provoked commentary as well as protest against notoriety. Before the 1920s, prostitutes and disrepute women in liberated Bohemian[96] and intellectual setups smoked both privately and publicly[97] – consequently smoking became the beloved of the ‘Flapper freedom’. She proclaimed –

“Eat a Chocolate. Light an Old Gold. And enjoy both! Two fine and healthful treats!”[98]

A cigarette advertisement.

Cigarettes became a “glamorous affection”[99] – a symbol of liberation and a means of proclaiming equal gendered rights[100]. Like cosmetics, it carried the infamy of sexual suggestiveness[101], and rejection of the traditional standards of propriety and morality. It undermined the ideal of proper female conduct and decency, proclaiming a promiscuous social equality – however, like the use of cosmetics, smoking got incorporated into the sphere of permissible behaviour by the 1930s.

Flasks, like humans, become better and more beautiful when filled with innocuous beverages.”[102]

Lipstick[103], The New Yorker.

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Lipstick & the Gospel of drinking.

The Flapper also usurped the male prerogative of drinking. Respectable women were traditionally barred from this indulgence, but what was it to her whose very existence challenged the Victorian notions of feminine propriety? “She came to associate Prohibition advocacy with old – fogeyism and with the illiberal moralism for which she had a profound distaste. They dissociated drinking from morality altogether by denouncing both the traditional moral code and the social regulators who enacted the morality into law[104][105]. In ballrooms, nightclubs, salons and cabaret bars, she drank bootleg[106] and bathroom gin[107] with the Dapper; “got caught in the sudden alcoholic torrents and was completely drenched”[108]. Her drunken displays of coffin varnish became a statement for flouting drinking conventions, except that these exhibits stood for something more. The target of this ‘smart rodomontade’ was moral association and obstacles, rather than law. Like smoking, drinking was another “glamorous affection” that was imitative of the adult society, allowing her to adjust to “traditional standards of morality, while expressing her desire for freedom to engage in various kinds of behaviour and her self-conscious modernity”[109]. The popular magazines and newspaper columns of the 1920s, reputed for their disdain for Prohibition, taught her how to “drink with aplomb” “with useful advice about which speakeasy to visit, what brand of drinking paraphernalia to procure” or how to maintain a proper drinking kit.[110] Interestingly, a convincing case was made to link female debauchery to cosmetic utility. It was feminine drinking that drove women to the beauty parlours and to the use of cosmetics in order to “cover-up” the consequences of their “growing recklessness of behaviour,” worrying not at all about the effects of late nights out and excessive drinking because of confidence that “next morning a facial treatment can smooth away the puffs and creases, that rouge will hide the pallor, that lavender powder will cover the redness of eyelids, and that little drops will brighten the dulled pupils.”[111]

“Don’t dance from the waist up; dance from the waist down.”[112]

Girls like to swing!

These daring and volatile practices quickly acquired musical accompaniment as a group of new sounds invaded the popular consciousness— hot jazz, from New Orleans, the blues, from Mississippi, Memphis, and Texas, ragtime from Missouri, boogie-woogie and stride piano from the keyboards of various piano players, some in Harlem, some itinerant.[113] However, the “Unspeakable Jazz”[114] fad surpassed all, for “it was a liberating style of music, and with its black origins it seemed to challenge the more traditional aspects of white middle-class existence”[115]. In New York City’s Harlem, white society frequented the jazz clubs, where great musicians like Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, and Cab Calloway entertained[116]. The jerky and syncopated rhythms of jazz and implicitly sexual dances like the Black Bottom, the Shimmy, the Bunny Hug, the Tango, the Toddle, and the Charleston were “echoed in the hard-edged patterns of dress fabrics”[117]; as the corset – less, defiant, and raunchy Flappers moved freely on the dance floor, reflecting the “rude passion, Negro lewdness, sensuous movement”[118].

Too intimate for Victorian ease?

This ‘social recreation’ was fast, intimate and contorting, and consequently was a source of egregious respectability; yet the music and the dance forms were there to outstay all opposition[119]. Indeed, “mixed dancing would leave its stamp on the Twenties forever, and jazz would become the lingering symbol for an era”[120].

“Where is your daughter this afternoon? Are you sure that she is not being drawn into the whirling vortex of afternoon ‘trots’ …?”[121]

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Sex O’ Clock America!

What proved the most welcome apostle of the Flapper was the 1920s “Sex o’ clock America”[122]. The country advocated a leisure culture[123], enabling financially empowered men and women to spend much time in applesauce, and pioneer a new set of customs[124] governing romance and sexuality. Love was “erotic” – this new insight restructured youth sexual behaviour and relationships, with charged sexual dynamism, vigorous experimentation and bumptious sophistication[125]. The new “beewax” system that brewed in petting pantries subordinated female purity to experience, considered sex a personal expression and sanctioned the indulgence of pre – marital sexual relations. Sex was openly discussed in social circles and sex became less tied to marriage and motherhood. Overtime, petting parties, treating, ‘necking’ and their more mercenary equivalent – dating developed, making way to full sexual encounters called “bamey – mugging”[126].  The woman became the round heeled “Owl”[127], and made her way to the beds of “Sugar Daddies”[128] and “Lounge Lizards”[129]. This provoked shrieks from moral and traditional quarters for the inherent rampant ‘loose’ sexuality “symbolized both disorder and rebellion: disorder because it meant energy unrestrained and rebellion because it was the most obvious line of attack in the onslaught against the pretensions of pre – war morality”[130]. Nonetheless, liberal sexual conduct shattered old taboos, liberated the shy female and laid the foundation for the sexual mores that were to characterize the years to follow.

Mercantile dating – a respectable whore?

Two words figure most prominently in the above paragraphs – “freedom” and “sexuality”. Indeed the freedom experienced by the American Flapper was more than the Gibson Girl, yet less than the Marilyn Monroe of the 1960s.  In fact, she wasn’t as free as she claimed – the mercenary system of dating left her at the mercy of the male purse[131], her wedlock pregnancy was shammed, and her pre – marital sexual adventures had marriage in mind[132]. She filled this gap, satisfied to be another transition in a continual spectrum of transformations that changed the ‘female’ through the ages. Throughout the twenties, America struggled with a torn conscience — with the fear of losing what was solid in its past and the excitement of what was new in its future[133]. The Flapper helped retain the much cherished past!

Flapping in Freedom!

Nevertheless, historians have dubbed the Flapper’s rise as a “Sexual Revolution”[134] that tore all ties with tradition and ushered in modernity. In a sense, this claim was backed by evidence – she detached herself from the “war – ridden” older generation, to avail herself to a new identity[135] that preferred peace and frolic to the cold sweat of war and politics. Her preference, reflecting the general youth preference – might be the reason why the political – economic trivia receded to a fireside – chat, and issues of social and cultural interpretations commanded domination in the society and legislatures. She desired to create a new generational identity with its own set of principles, distant from the transcribed gender roles and customary restrictions. And in all these, never did she break away from the “Order Old”. In the trying post – war era wherein social trammels were in as state of perturbed tranquillity, she grabbed the opportunity to reconfigure traditions to match the rapid pace of time that was marching toward modernity. For instance, with individualism as the trend; she had to liberate the private life from social control – in the process, imparting gravity to the private expression that originated from individualism and personal choices. Consequently, she loosened the social binds to accommodate new trends before the trammels got crystallized into the more rigid patterns of the 1930s. Provided the “speed” of the Jazz life, she made an ‘adamant imprinting’ of the new social and sexual mores – depriving the society of its ‘second thoughts’ and subjugating it to comply by awe. In that small interval of a decade, she entertained experiments, their successes and failures – and settled the pieces of jigsaw that would shape the puzzle of sexuality in the 20th and 21st century. So can the Flapper qualify for a rebel? Hardly so. From the wider social conformity, she transferred her allegiance to peer conformity[136]. Her every action, however scandalous in the eyes of the society, received the approval of her peers – the youth of the 1920s.  She now switched loyalties – from religion[137] to sports, family to friends and tradition to modernity, without discarding the previous patterns. She just preferred the new patterns more. The American Oriental Society propagandized this opinion[138]

Flappers are stealing their stuff from snappy and pictured articles by ‘‘advanced’’ authors written on bricks and tablets when Babylonia was so young that chambers of commerce were ballyhooing it as a coining nation and a fine place to settle … Speakers before the society today showed flappers pictured on bricks four thousand years old. They pointed out the bobbed hair, the short skirts, the sandals, the plucked eyebrows. They remarked how the goggle-eyed youth of the day resembled our own puddle jumpers. They read the ‘‘hot stuff ’’ inscriptions beneath the pictured flappers. Some of it was slang. The girls had love codes, and spent much time parading up and down the Nile promenades wearing their vampish earrings; Outraged fathers wrote on imperishable stone what a nuisance the young bloods were and what was the world coming to with girls and boys out on the Euphrates in boats at all hours, singing ‘‘popular’’ songs while strumming the ukuleles of that vintage.

Mobile Sheiks & Shebas – reconfiguring sexuality and tradition?

The Flapper stole her identity from distorted tradition, yet tradition nonetheless. Even her outrageous behaviour was no new leaf of the hour! It was conspicuous for being the first major break from traditional monotony, not tradition as a whole. The 1920s was the era of display – and so displayed were the ‘private social ills’ in the limelight, under the scrutiny of ‘public’ judgemental eyes. Smoking and drinking painted faces who defied the “Patriarch” had existed before the Flapper, behind the parted curtains of brothels and bohemian galleries – she just brought the faces down to the streets. She was another of the frequent sparks of modernity created a fugitive distraction for the passer-by in his pursued path of Patriarchy. The businessmen, the senator, the innovator, the writer and the couturier espoused this ‘emergence’ because for a moment, she seemed to triumph in the battle against tradition. However, as one aspect in her was ‘deemed’ triumphant, the other underwent a black eye. With victory, she lost much of her splurge, catering to the needs of a generation that lost the intoxication of eurhythmics, to brood over the thunder clouds of the approaching World War II years.  The “New Woman” in her stayed out in the streets, the “Putting on the Ritz” Sheba[139] retreated to her former lodgings.

“ “What does the long skirt have to do with ousting the flapper?”, you ask. ‘’Can you imagine a long-skirted female with a crop of short hair? It can’t be done”.”[140]

If not radicalism, then what did the Flapper give expression to? Feminism? Subterranean tendencies? Or a subaltern culture that increasingly represented “American – ness”?

The “DARING” Feminist!

Feminism should be the first logical guess. The changes concerning sexuality was more pronounced in the Flapper than the Dapper. The American woman of the 1920s voted, worked and desired to balance career and life. Out of expediency, they accepted at face value the predominant Victorian belief that women and men were inexorably different and maybe just a little unequal. Most of these women were also social activists. Their feminism combined a concern for the personal and the political[141]. Nonetheless this ‘infant’ feminism contained many a deep political fissures that questioned the definition of “Feminism” itself after the War; and it was left to the Jazz Flapper to reconcile these ideologically dissenting blocs in universal scorn and condemnation”. For the veteran feminists of the “pre – war, flat – heeled unpowdered, pioneer suffragette”, the “post – war, spike – heeled, over – rogued flapper” struck as “an apolitical creature interested only in romantic and sexual frivolities”. She was the misguided sell – out of feminists, who broke homes, declared war on wombs and demoralized the youth. And this was where the lines of Flapperdom were misread. Bromley viewed these ‘new’ grass – root feminists with favour – to her these self-styled feminists of the 1920s, who “antagonized men with their constant clamour about maiden names, equal rights[142], women’s place in the world, and many another causes … ad infinitum.”[143] According to her, “‘Feminism’ has become a term of opprobrium to the modern young woman,” who defined equality not as political rights or economic opportunities but as something more subtle and more threatening: freedom—the right to self-expression, self-determination, and personal satisfaction.[144] To traditionalists this smacked of immorality, self-indulgence, and irresponsibility. This was alarming for it meant not merely a granting of rights but an upheaval in social relationships and the destruction of formerly effective controls. In condemning the ‘New – Style, modern second – wave feminist’[145] flapper for her turn inward, first-wave feminists may have betrayed a lack of imagination. To engage in ‘normalcy’, perhaps the trick wasn’t “to combine the personal and the political. Maybe the personal was political. Maybe the Flapper was pioneering a distinct brand of individualist feminism.”

Bohemian Outlaws?

The second association of the Flapper was subterranean tendencies. In the twenties, this experimentation with values and behaviours was fostered by what David Matza has called the “subterranean traditions of youth.”[146] Matza has identified three major subterranean tendencies in youth societies—delinquency, radicalism, and bohemianism. And this concept of the Flapper’s traditional choice of anti-social models of behaviour helped to illuminate certain tendencies among the normative young of the Twenties[147] that were carefully chalked out to meet the rhythms of change.

6 by David Gubert-stylist Jana Pokorny-model Barbara Fialho-Maire Claire aus march 2011-dustjacketattic.blogspot.com.jpg
Legitimizing the Low Life?

The final expression was her subaltern culture. It was indeed the Flapper who mobilized the ‘lowly’ and modernity against tradition. She brought within the helm of acceptance the Jazz culture of the New Negro[148] and the informal easy life of the prostitutes – working to make the fusion attractive enough to fit the requirements of the upper echelons of the society. Though lowly, the resultant ‘culture’ became infused with the rhythms of modern urban life, and invited white fascination with its exoticism. The subaltern culture gradually acquired the legitimacy of white countenance[149], and with the aid of technology and rationality, evolved into the nationalized ‘generic’ hip – culture of the urbanized geography that was the 1920s U.S.A.

Hence, in retrospect, to suggest that the American Flapper was just a pleasure’s child, lacking in depth, responsibility and gravity would be an unforgiveable disservice. After all, she proved to be more than just a pretty face!


[1] Cigarette.

[2] Illegal liquor, which was widely manufactured during Prohibition; could be used interchangeably with ‘‘bathtub gin’’ or ‘‘bootleg.’’

[3] Arnold, Shaw. The Jazz Age: Popular Music in the 1920s (New York: Oxford University Press Inc., 1987).

[4] The 1920s have drawn forth the greatest number of nicknames, probably, of any period in American national life. They reflect widely different views. On the one hand, the twenties were called golden (Newsweek, March 20, 1939, p. 25; Fortune, March, 1944, P- 142; Time, Aug. 23, 1948, p. 35). Fortune spoke of the ‘mistakes of the gaudy twenties, the dreary thirties.’ College English (May, 1950, p. 477) reviewed First Family by Richard Scowcroft – ‘The story of the “easy twenties and hard thirties.”‘ Prosperity Decade: from War to Depression–917-1929 by George Soule, was published in 1948. The ‘bonanza ’20s’ were referred to in Newsweek, Feb. 21, 1938, p. 13- On the other hand, the twenties were also called ‘boisterous’ (Fortune, July, 1945, p. 263); ‘tempestuous’ (Life, Dec. 24, 1945, p. 93); ‘wild’ (Barron’s Weekly, May 23, 1950); ‘roaring’ (Newsweek, May 13, 1946, p. 92; Business Week, Jan. 26, 1946, p. 19; Veterans’ Weekly, Jan. 4, 1946). Newsweek (Aug. 6, 1945, P- 85) called them the ‘Speakeasy Twenties,’ and Life (May 15, 1944, p. 13) recalled the ‘gangland killings’ of the ‘Bloody Twenties.’ An Associated Press editorial, written in November, 1946, on the death of Jimmy Walker, mayor of New York City in the twenties, stated that he epitomized the ‘glamour’ and also the ‘gang violence, big deals, big money, big scandal’ of his day. The Age of Protest and the Age of Violence are terms that expressed the impression of Norman Cousins (Saturday Review of Literature, Aug. 6, 1949, p. 74) of the twenties and thirties. The swing era (Newsweek, July 25, 1938, p. 26) and jazz age (Publishers’ Weekly, Sept. 26, 1946, p. 2491) are among the best known tags of the twenties. Francis Ludlow wrote in College English (Jan., 1946, p. 182): The twenties have been dubbed the ‘Jazz Age,’ for which F. Scott Fitzgerald is conceded to have been the spokesman. It was the period of reaction from war, the day of the bootlegger and the gangster, of women’s smoking, of the revolt against restraint. ‘The almost forgotten Naughty Twenties’ was the judgment passed by Punch, according to The Periodical of Oxford University Press, Spring, 1949. There is no ambivalence, however, in connection with the 193os. [Source – Mamie J, Meredith. “The ‘Nifty Fifties,’ the ‘Flying Forties,’ the ‘Threadbare Thirties,’ and the ‘Roaring Twenties’ of Twentieth-Century America”, American Speech, Vol. 26, No. 3 (Oct., 1951): pp. 225-229.]

[5] The slang word “flapper”, describing a young woman, is sometimes supposed to refer to a young bird flapping its wings while learning to fly. However, it may derive from an earlier use in northern England to mean “teenage girl”, referring to one whose hair is not yet put up and whose plaited pigtail “flapped” on her back; or from an older word meaning “prostitute”.  By the 1890s, the word “flapper” was emerging in England as popular slang both for a very young prostitute, and in a more general – and less derogatory sense – of any lively mid-teenage girl. The word appeared in print as early as 1903 in the United Kingdom and 1904 in the United States, when novelist Desmond Coke used it in his college story of Oxford life, Sandford of Merton: “There’s a stunning flapper”. By 1908, newspapers as serious as The Times used it, although with careful explanation: “A ‘flapper’, we may explain, is a young lady who has not yet been promoted to long frocks and the wearing of her hair ‘up'”. By 1920, the term had taken on the full meaning of the flapper generation style and attitudes. The first appearance of the word and image in the United States came from the popular 1920 Frances Marion film, The Flapper, starring Olive Thomas. As the adoption of the term in America coincided with a fashion among teenage girls in the early 1920s for wearing unbuckled galoshes, a widespread false etymology held that they were called “flappers” because they flapped when they walked, as they wore their overshoes or galoshes unfastened, showing that they defied convention in a manner similar to the 21st century fad for untied shoelaces. In popular etymology, Flappers were a “new breed” of young Western women in the 1920s who wore short skirts, bobbed their hair, listened to jazz, and flaunted their disdain for what was then considered acceptable behaviour. Flappers were seen as brash for wearing excessive makeup, drinking, treating sex in a casual manner, smoking, driving automobiles, and otherwise flouting social and sexual norms. [Source – “Flapper”. Wikipedia. Wikipedia Foundation Inc., 5 April 2016. Web. 5 April 2016. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flapper&gt;.]

[6] Zelda Sayre, FitzGerald. “Eulogy on the Flapper.” Metropolitan Magazine (June 1922).

[7] Paula S, Fass. The Damned & the Beautiful: American Youth in the 1920s (New York: Oxford University Press, 1977).

[8] Morton, White. Social Thought in America: The Revolt Against Formalism (The U.S.: Beacon Press, 1957).

[9] Paula S, Fass. The Damned & the Beautiful: American Youth in the 1920s (New York: Oxford University Press, 1977).

[10] Proponents of the Progressive Movement (a group of people advocating multiple political, economic, moral, and social reforms, including but not limited to Prohibition) believed that eliminating saloons would greatly reduce corruption and crime. Medical research continued to point out health benefits of abstaining, while social workers saw a strong connection between the use of alcohol and poverty. The passage of the 18th Amendment that set the note of the Prohibition Era was seen by many as a struggle between the old, more rural order of the United States and the emerging urban society—with the old order desperately fighting for Prohibition as a way to hold on to their more conservative values. Lippman writing in 1927 reflected this opinion. [Source – Kelly Boyer, Sagert. Flappers: A Guide to an American Subculture. (California: Greenwood Press, 2010).]

[11] American culture was remade in the 1920’s. Robust with business styles, technologies, educational policies, manners, and leisure habits which are identifiably ‘American’, the decade sits solidly at the base of culture. The recognized difference between the twenties and an older America was not simply corporate power, or the automobile, or sexual liberation. It was more than the fierce energy, tone, and sensibility that came with conscious innovation; more than the sharp social tensions and frequent head-on collisions between new forces and traditional but still obstinate forms. All of this had occurred before. What made the twenties new was the finely textured tapestry where the many changes were knotted to form a wholly new design. Still, it is easier to bypass the long-term changes that were firmly secured in the twenties when these are reminiscenced either the surface excitements of the new or the remnants of the old. The twenties seem to lend themselves to caricature. The complexities of politics, for example, are largely missing. In contrast to the decades which precede and succeed, both dense with political activity and reformist energy, the twenties are flat—a combination of simplistic business values, corrupt government practices, and stingy isolationism. Few decades have been so often treated solely in cultural terms, as historians, in describing the period from 1901 to 1945, jump from decades of reform and war to a decade of culture and back again to reform and war. The image, once more, is that of relief and of much-needed rest. But when it is isolated in this way, even the richness of twenties culture is flattened and reduced to a less serious plane of social reality. Moreover, too often the culture of the 1920’s is portrayed as a culture of negation, of war-weary cynics, despairing intellectuals, and decadent artists who simplified the society by renouncing it as phony and irrelevant. The portrait of an America in flight from reality permits the historian, too, to flee from the complex problem of the era—the knotty process by which Americans adjusted to change. The twenties has been so schematized, so crushed between a conservative business and politics, an avant-garde high culture, and an ostrich-like popular imagination that the solid substance of the society has disappeared. And instead of opening the door to ourselves, the twenties has become a meaningless passage, unstable, unwelcome, and unreal.

But what makes the twenties so meaningful is not the escape from change but the adjustment to change. [Source – Paula S, Fass. The Damned & the Beautiful: American Youth in the 1920s (New York: Oxford University Press, 1977).]

[12] Ibid.

[13] Ibid.

[14] Susan, Currell. American Culture in the 1920s (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2009).

[15] Patterns in culture never begin and end quite so clearly, but the 1920s are neatly encased within two major events – the end of World War I and the Wall Street Crash – that give distinctive boundaries to those years. These two events consolidated, accelerated and confirmed intellectual responses to modernity that had begun much earlier and continued well beyond the 1920s. Despite this, ideas about culture and society operate in relationship with the political and social environment of the time, making it possible to describe the culture of the 1920s as distinct as well as part of longer-term trends. The introduction of new mass communications, notably radio programming and sound on film, the unprecedented prominence of racial and nativist ideologies in public culture, the popularisation of psychoanalysis, female suffrage and the prohibition of alcohol rendered the decade clearly different from others that had come before. Ideas about these social, technological and scientific changes emerged in the philosophies and ideologies that developed over the period; and played a significant role in the cultural and social productions of the 1920s. [Source – Ibid.]

[16] Thorstein Veblan.

[17] In 1920, while campaigning for the presidency of the United States, Republican nominee Warren G. Harding promised that, if elected, he would return the country to “normalcy” following the upheaval of U.S. involvement in World War I and the idealistic and embattled administration of President Woodrow Wilson. His promise to restore what many Americans perceived as the “good old days” resonated with voters, who elected Harding the nation’s twenty-ninth president. The presidency of Wilson, whose first term saw the adoption of landmark economic measures such as the creation of the Federal Reserve System and the Federal Trade Commission, was marred in its second term by the outbreak of World War I and global pressure on the United States to join the Allied powers. By 1917, the Wilson administration, in preparation for U.S. military involvement, had taken several dramatic measures, including a military draft, nationalization of some industries, and suppression of antiwar groups and other dissenters. U.S. involvement in the war, although brief, resulted in more than 53,000 American combat deaths and Wilson’s commitment to increased U.S. involvement in global affairs. Social and political upheavals surrounding the war resulted in an influx of European immigrants to the United States, most of whom settled in the already crowded cities of the East and Midwest. By 1919, a postwar economic recession had set in, exacerbating social and racial tensions and fueling labor unrest. Violent strikes and urban riots ensued, accompanied by attacks on major American financial institutions by radical political groups. By this time, unbeknownst to the American public, Wilson had been incapacitated by a stroke and was unable to carry out his duties as president. In the midst of this tumult, many Americans longed for the perceived simplicity and stability of an earlier age. Fear of widespread immigration and alien political ideologies sparked a growth in anti-immigration sentiment, isolationist ideology, and reactionary politics typified by the revival of the Ku Klux Klan. Harding sought to establish a sharp contrast in the minds of voters between his agenda and that of his Democratic opponent, Ohio Governor James M. Cox, whom he cast as a standard-bearer for the progressive policies of Wilson. Promising a return to the conservative, business-friendly policies of William McKinley, Harding seized upon the country’s growing uneasiness with the outward-looking philosophy of progressivism and its emphasis on government activism in effecting social and economic reform. Despite his promise to restore “normalcy” to American life, Harding’s presidency was far from normal, marred by scandal and accusations of incompetence and cut short by his death of cardiovascular disease on August 2, 1923. His brief administration saw the resignation, arrest, and conviction of several of its officials for bribery and fraud. Harding’s “normalcy” became a subject of ridicule to some. Contemporary critics such as journalist H.L. Mencken scoffed at Harding’s use of the word, citing it as yet another example of the president’s tendency to misuse the English language. Most believed that Harding inadvertently coined the word while trying to articulate the more common term “normality.” Harding’s defenders, however, cite evidence that “normalcy” existed long before its association with Harding and may have been in use as early as the mid-nineteenth century, though not in the political sense Harding gave it. The term is currently part of common usage, and most English-language dictionaries deem “normalcy” grammatically acceptable. [Source – James, Ciment (ed.). Encyclopedia of the Jazz Age: From the End of World War I to the Great Crash (New York: Sharpe Reference, 2013).]

[18] Susan, Currell. American Culture in the 1920s (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2009).

[19] The battle for world democracy had entailed a sharp curtailment of individual freedoms for Americans: the Bolshevik revolution in Russia in 1917 had led authorities to suppress domestic radicalism for fear of similar turmoil, and legislation such as the Espionage Act of 1917 and the Sedition Act of 1918 prevented open criticism of or opposition to the political establishment. Yet the end of the war only unearthed further class and race tensions as the rising cost of living and mass immigration led to huge waves of strikes, protests and race riots. For African Americans the first few years of ‘peace’ were the most violent in their history since slavery had ended, with over twenty-five race riots across the country causing hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries. African American soldiers’ experience of vicious attacks, lynching (at least 456 people were killed by lynch mobs between 1918 and 1927) and race riots in the ‘Red Summer’ of 1919 highlighted the absurdity of their wartime fight for American democracy. In 1919 Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer – a former liberal and advocate of women’s suffrage and child labour laws – sanctioned violent ‘Palmer raids’ on union members, communists, anarchists and other radicals as industrial and social unrest literally exploded around the country. The 1920 arrest of two Italian born anarchists, Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, symbolised the extent of the oppression by the political establishment. Those who questioned democracy were increasingly considered dangerous to post – war stability and order. While the Red Panic of 1919 subsided, the restoration of faith in democracy took far longer. The inadequacies of the Treaty of Versailles alongside America’s military interventions in Russia and Latin America in the early 1920s created an overwhelming sense of continuing world and domestic instability. [Source – Ibid.]

[20] Despite a deeply ingrained pessimism, intellectual activity over the period did produce a vibrant culture of ideas and perceptions that appeared to liberate society from outmoded and outworn beliefs and behaviours. To America’s foremost philosopher, John Dewey, post – war reconstruction depended upon ‘reconstruction in philosophy’ that would rebuild national culture and revive democracy. Dewey believed that ‘[c]onceptions of possibility, progress, free movement and infinitely diversified opportunity have been suggested by modern science’, but that society was afflicted by ‘the heritage of the immutable . . . ordered and systematized’ that lay ‘like a dead weight upon the emotions, paralyzing religion and distorting art’. Overthrowing the past, then, was a political act of revivifying democracy. Born in 1859, Dewey was influenced by the philosopher William James’ turn to pragmatism as a solution to contemporary problems of democracy, knowledge and education. His belief in the holistic connection between science and art, experience and reality, the individual and community provided a counterpoint to the despair and nihilism that permeated cultural tensions in the decade. Rather than return to the security of tradition, however, Dewey believed that the philosopher and intellectual had a public role ‘to assist in [the] clarification and redirection of men’s thoughts’ and ‘to free experience from routine and from caprice’. Dewey argued for social stability based not on tradition or dogmatic belief, but on intelligent and rational responses to the needs of social progress in the present: ‘we rely on precedent as authority only to our own undoing’, he argued. Pragmatism was often perceived simply as an instrumental philosophy of action rather than ideas; Dewey, however, saw it as a method of creating action ‘informed with vision, imagination, reflection’; a method relevant for solving modern conflicts and confusion in which culture was central. Eschewing dogma and a priori belief – notably the nationalistic dogmas which had led to the war in Europe – Dewey claimed that the new world position of America demanded a new philosophy which showed faith ‘in the power of intelligence to imagine a future which is the projection of the desirable in the present, and to invent the instrumentalities of its realization’. Dewey offered a salve to the tensions in society between the past and future. Over the 1920s his ideas permeated into discussions over politics, education, community and society. Most notably, the 1920s marked the popularisation of the ideas of pragmatism more widely than ever before. Dewey also believed that it was in the popularisation and ethical application of scientific knowledge that democracy could be sustained. Dewey’s ideas undercut the pessimism of the 1920s by arguing that democracy in mass society was not only possible but likely, with the rapid increase of mass communication and education. His writings indicated that mass society was not inherently in decay. Despite this, Dewey’s ideas did not offer the stability of belief that many needed. To Dewey ‘truth’ was relative, mutable and based upon untested outcomes; for him it was ‘the quest for certainty’ that harmed society and hampered social progress. Few, however, celebrated uncertainty with quite the same passion. Dewey’s pragmatism influenced a new approach to gathering, analysing and applying information within the social sciences. The 1920s marked a new era for the social sciences with the formation of the Chicago School of sociology and the work of urban sociologists Robert Park and Ernest Burgess from around 1918. Their researches aimed to describe reality in a new way that had a big impact on other forms of cultural and literary production. [Source – Ibid.]

[21] The social scientists of the 1920s developed new techniques and observations that were based on empirical evidence rather than applying a priori theories to a range of situations. Their research marked a shift towards collaborative and interdisciplinary work, which combined several disciplines such as sociology, the political sciences, psychology, anthropology, statistics and economics. These new methods aimed to illustrate a more truthful experience of the subject under investigation from a variety of angles, embellished at times with diaries or letters, and at others with journalistic commentary from the researcher. The methods of the Chicago School attempted to portray a reality that was multi – layered and relative rather than the singular vision of the moralistic reformer of previous decades, heralding new ideas about communication and the construction of reality. This new research undermined the universalism upon which certainty and stability relied. Anthropologists like Margaret Mead examined culture as a relative rather than fixed phenomenon, thus counteracting the prevailing trend of evolutionary determinism sanctioned by cultural pessimists such as Lothrop Stoddard. In the 1920s American social scientists also turned their attention from the study of ‘foreign’ cultures to their own, beginning with the investigation of immigrant or migrant culture in the urban environment – The Polish Peasant in Europe and America (1918), Old World Traits Transplanted (1921), The Negro in Chicago (1922), The Neighbourhood (1923), The City (1925), The Gang (1927) and The Ghetto (1928) – followed by research into the middle classes in the suburban setting such as Middletown (1929). To many, these investigations indicated that social problems were caused by maladjustment to culture disparity between social and technological developments and human capacity to keep up with and adapt to cultural change became a central concern of sociologists such as William Ogburn, who invented the term ‘cultural lag’ to describe the problem. Ogburn’s conceit not only influenced intellectual thought but became central to popular ideas about modern living and self-improvement. The increasing speed of social change led to a flurry of investigations that attempted to remap the social and cultural landscape of America. [Source – Ibid.]

[22] The huge popularisation of one particular field of science appeared to threaten traditional culture more than any other: psychoanalysis. Freud first visited America in 1909 and his newly translated work had permeated into intellectual circles of radical writers, who used Freud as a way of challenging tradition and conservatism. However, it wasn’t until the 1920s that Freud ‘became epidemic in America’. Just as Einstein’s theory had revealed the deception of surface appearance, Freud’s indicated that beneath the appearance of normality lay unseen unconscious drives: both revealed that there were unseen forces behind the movements of the natural and social world. To many, the Great War confirmed Freud’s theories about the irrational and brutal beneath the veneer of civilised society, revealing the dangerous possibilities of the primal instincts in human nature. Not only had the war exposed the fragility of modern democracy, it had generated and revealed the existence of widespread psychological disorders that had been previously undetected or undiagnosed: ‘America is by way of being something of a psychiatrical clinic,’ claimed Veblen in 1922. Psychiatric treatment of shell-shocked soldiers illustrated the usefulness of Freud’s theories for treating the traumatised and the neurotic – ideas that became extended to the peacetime adjustment of Americans to the new conditions of modernity. To many intellectuals, their disillusion with received values and institutions was justified in the discoveries of psychoanalysis, a field that counteracted the pessimism it created by offering a new path to social progress. In many ways the tension between the past and future progress within American society was represented in the neurotic individual, trapped in the past and unable to progress to ‘normalcy’ until psychoanalysis unlocked the door to a more stable future. As Freud noted in 1927, progress in psychoanalysis (and culture more generally) relied on a tension between the past and the present, where ‘the present … must have become the past – before it can yield points of vantage from which to judge the future’. By the 1920s intellectual interpretations of American history were being amended by Freud’s theories. In his negative appraisal of the state of American culture in 1922, Harold Stearns employed the Oedipal complex to describe the poor state of American culture: ‘America is a very young country . . . [w]e have not sufficiently grown up but that we must still cling to our father and mother’. The critic Waldo Frank in Our American (1919) also analysed contemporary problems as a result of ‘repression on a national scale’. Frank interpreted the post – war psychic imbalance as an effect of the centuries of Puritan and pioneer repressions. Materialism and the drive for success had replaced the natural instincts, they argued. Only in the rediscovery of the far reaches of human consciousness, through art, literature and poetry, and a rejection of the past, would it be possible to cure the neurotic industrial monster that America had become. In this way the past was cast as ‘disease’ with culture as the cure. By the start of the 1920s such ideas about the individual and society were being circulated in the mass media outside of elite and intellectual circles, even appearing in the more conservative echelons of Good Housekeeping magazine. In 1920 one writer claimed that it was ‘hard to pick up a newspaper or a magazine without finding psychoanalytic terms’, and by 1925 another writer was calling Freud the ‘Columbus of the Subconscious’ and the ‘God of psychoanalysis’. This widespread use of psychoanalysis was not unproblematic. The discipline itself experienced crisis with the appearance in the 1920s of a ‘new’ psychoanalytic psychology, ‘an eclectic mix of Adler, Jung and Freud’. The huge popularisation of Freudian ideas in the mass media resulted in a lack of orthodoxy that appeared to be exploiting public interest in the new trend rather than assisting progression. The popular overuse of Freudian theory led to dilution, misinterpretation and downright quackery, developments that in turn became an object of satire for writers and artists. As Alfred Kuttner noted in 1922, the nation’s embrace of Freudianism in the 1920s exhibited ‘the most extravagant development of the so-called “wild” psychoanalysis’. The adaptation of Freud to new market and social conditions took on a variety of guises; from the appearance of the first popular magazine on psychology in 1923 came a torrent of popular literature on the new psychology, including books, magazine articles and newspaper columns. Like Einstein, Sigmund Freud became a household figure, and made the first of five appearances on the cover of Time magazine on 27 October 1924. The public profile of psychoanalysis was raised further in 1924 when four psychoanalysts gave expert testimony in the notorious Loeb–Leopold murder trial. The importance of the psychoanalyst in detecting and curing psychoses and creating functioning citizens in a godless, amoral society seemed paramount but the trial also revealed the moral vacuum in which psychoanalysis now functioned. The popularity of psychoanalysis as a cure for social and cultural problems led to the proliferation of books and magazines offering pop psychology as a solution to all ills. Although Freud was dismayed at the emergence of such eclectic psychoanalysis in America, his ideas did combine fruitfully with other disciplines to provide Americans with a new intellectual roadmap. Freud and Dewey’s mutual admiration, for example, led to important developments in psychoanalytic education, and Freud was greatly influential in the development of social anthropology and criminology in the social sciences. Rather than curtailing the tensions in American culture, however, the proliferation of psychoanalytic theories of the individual, society and culture intensified the paradoxical experience of modernity. To many, the new impact of psychoanalysis was associated with modern freedom and expressivity. To others, however, it became associated with enforcing and policing a new conformity and conservatism, one based on a consumerist or behavioural ‘normalcy’ rather than religious faith, politics or artistic expression. Psychoanalytic theories enabled rebellious intellectuals to turn against traditional values, rejecting the heritage of Puritanism and the values associated with Victorian culture; at the same time these theories filled the gap left by the repudiation of traditional social and religious doctrines in the scientific age. To many, it seemed, psychoanalysis had replaced religion as Freud presented Americans with a ‘sustained plea for a heroic and defiant atheism’ through which the tension between the past and the future could be expressed and resolved. [Source – Ibid.]

[23] Zelda Sayre, FitzGerald. “Eulogy on the Flapper.” Metropolitan Magazine (June 1922).

[24] Many models posed for Gibson Girl-style illustrations, including Gibson’s wife, Irene Langhorne who may have been the original model, and was a sister of Viscountess Nancy (Langhorne) Astor. Other models included Evelyn Nesbit. The most famous Gibson Girl was probably the Belgian-American stage actress, Camille Clifford, whose high coiffure and long, elegant gowns that wrapped around her hourglass figure and tightly corseted wasp waist defined the style. In the newly developing art of cinema, although most leading actresses were at the cutting style of the day, the ones who came to embody it best were the Biograph girlsFlorence Lawrence and to a more ingénue side of it, Mary Pickford. They personified and catapulted the cult of the ideal woman for the masses beyond American borders or the limits of stage performing and its language barriers across the globe, perhaps for the first time in World history off royalty trendsetting (and more or less off craftsmen design at first) in what in the following decades would become the star celebrity system of female sex icons. [Source – “Gibson Girl”. Wikipedia. Wikipedia Foundation Inc., 23 November 2015. Web. 5 April 2016. < https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gibson_Girl&gt;.]

[25] From the “fragile lady” she took the basic slender lines, and a sense of respectability. From the “voluptuous woman” she took a large bust and hips, but was not vulgar or lewd, as previous images of women with large busts and hips had been depicted. From this combination emerged the Gibson Girl, who was tall and slender, yet with ample bosom, hips and buttocks. She had an exaggerated S-curve torso shape achieved by wearing a swan-bill corset. Images of her epitomized the late 19th- and early 20th-century Western preoccupation with youthful features and ephemeral beauty. Her neck was thin and her hair piled high upon her head in the contemporary bouffantpompadour, and chignon (“waterfall of curls”) fashions. The statuesque, narrow-waisted ideal feminine figure was portrayed as being at ease and stylish. She was a member of upper class society, always perfectly dressed in the latest fashionable attire appropriate for the place and time of day. The Gibson Girl was also one of the new, more athletic shaped women, who could be found cycling through Central Park, often exercised and was emancipated to the extent that she could enter the workplace. In addition to the Gibson Girl’s refined beauty, in spirit, she was calm, independent, confident, and sought personal fulfilment. She could be depicted attending college and vying for a good mate, but she would never have participated in the suffrage movement. [Source – Ibid.]

[26] The Gibson Girl was a more popular version of the New Woman, and Gibson depicted her as an equal companion to men. She was also sexually dominant, next to the beauty of a Gibson Girl, men often appeared as simpletons or bumblers; and even men with handsome physiques or great wealth alone could not provide satisfaction to her. Most often, a Gibson Girl appeared single and uncommitted; however, a romance always relieved her boredom. Once married, she was shown deeply frustrated if romantic love had disappeared from her life, but satisfied if socializing with girlfriends or happy when doting on her infant child. Whilst the Gibson Girl took on many characteristics of the New Woman, she did so without involving herself in politics and thus did not appear to contemporaries at the time to be usurping traditionally masculine roles as the New Woman was deemed to. She therefore managed to stay within the boundaries of feminine roles without too much transgression. [Source – Ibid.]

[27] By the outbreak of World War I, changing fashions caused the Gibson Girl to fall out of favour as women favoured practical clothing compatible with changing times over the elegant dresses, bustle gowns, shirtwaists, and terraced, floor-length skirts favoured by the Gibson Girl. [Source – Ibid.] The New Woman gained dominance. “She” was a feminist ideal that emerged in the late nineteenth century and had a profound influence on feminism well into the twentieth century. The term “New Woman” was coined by writer Sarah Grand in her article “The New Aspect of the Woman Question,” published in the North American Review in March 1894. The term was further popularized by British-American writer Henry James, to describe the growth in the number of feminist, educated, independent career women in Europe and the United States. The New Woman typically asked for the right to equal educational and work opportunities as well as progressive reform, sexual freedom and suffrage. [Source – “New Woman”. Wikipedia. Wikipedia Foundation Inc., 17 March 2016. Web. 5 April 2016. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Woman&gt;.]

[28] “Gibson Girl”. Wikipedia. Wikipedia Foundation Inc., 23 November 2015. Web. 5 April 2016. < https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gibson_Girl&gt;.

[29] Judith, Mackrell. Flappers: Six Women of a Dangerous Generation (New York: Sarah Crichton Books/ Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2014).

[30] First-wave feminism was a period of feminist activity, that occurred within the time period of the 19th and early 20th century throughout the world. It focused on legal issues, primarily on gaining women’s suffrage. The term first-wave was coined in March 1968 by Martha Lear writing in The New York Times Magazine. First-wave feminism in the U.S. involved a wide range of women, some belonging to conservative Christian groups (such as Frances Willard and the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union), others such as Matilda Joslyn Gage of the National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA) resembling the radicalism of much of second-wave feminism. The majority of first-wave feminists were more moderate and conservative than radical or revolutionary—like the members of the American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA) they were willing to work within the political system and they understood the clout of joining with sympathetic men in power to promote the cause of suffrage. The NWSA had broad goals, hoping to achieve a more equal social role for women, but the AWSA was aware of the divisive nature of many of those goals and instead chose to focus solely on suffrage. The first wave of feminists, in contrast to the second wave, focused very little on the subjects of abortion, birth control, and overall reproductive rights of women. In 1860, New York passed a revised Married Women’s Property Act which gave women shared ownership of their children, allowing them to have a say in their children’s wills, wages, and granting them the right to inherit property. Further advances and setbacks were experienced in New York and other states, but with each new win the feminists were able to use it as an example to apply more leverage on unyielding legislative bodies. The end of the first wave is often linked with the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution (1920), granting women the right to vote. This was the major victory of the movement, which also included reforms in higher education, in the workplace and professions, and in health care. [ Source – “First Wave Feminism”. Wikipedia. Wikipedia Foundation Inc., 31 March 2016. Web. 12 March 2016. < https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First-wave_feminism#United_States&gt;.]

[31] “Female Education in the United States”. Wikipedia. Wikipedia Foundation Inc., 19 March 2016. Web. 5 April 2016. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Female_education_in_the_United_States&gt;.

[32] Kelly Boyer, Sagert. Flappers: A Guide to an American Subculture. (California: Greenwood Press, 2010).

[33] Tom, Streissguth . Eyewitness History: The Roaring Twenties (New York: Infobase Publishing, 2007).

[34] Carrie Chapman Catt was an American women’s suffrage leader who campaigned for the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which gave U.S. women the right to vote in 1920. Catt served as president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association and was the founder of the League of Women Voters and the International Alliance of Women. She “led an army of vote – less women in 1919 to pressure Congress to pass the constitutional amendment giving them the right to vote and convinced state legislatures to ratify it in 1920” and “was one of the best-known women in the United States in the first half of the twentieth century and was on all lists of famous American women”. [ Source – “Carrie Chapman Catt”. Wikipedia. Wikipedia Foundation Inc., 16 March 2016. Web. 5 April 2016. < https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carrie_Chapman_Catt&gt;.]

[35] Reformer Margaret Sanger launched a campaign in the early twentieth century to disseminate birth control information, which Congress had classified as obscene in 1873 under the Comstock Act. Sanger spoke out in favour of providing legal birth control information after witnessing a poor young slum mother die following an attempted abortion. Many people attacked Sanger as immoral, and she was arrested several times, once in 1916 after opening the first birth control clinic in

the United States. In 1921, she organized the American Birth Control League, which later became Planned Parenthood. By 1930, there were more than 300 birth control clinics in the United States. [Source – James, Ciment (ed.). Encyclopedia of the Jazz Age: From the End of World War I to the Great Crash (New York: Sharpe Reference, 2013).]

[36] The birth control movement in the 1920s signalled a new willingness of women to accept their sexuality rather than repress it. Methods of birth control in the 1920s included coitus interruptus, condoms, douches, sponges, diaphragms, cervical caps, and powders and potions of dubious effectiveness. There was also abortion, which was mostly illegal. Middle- and upper-class women were already practicing contraception and family planning. The trend toward contraception did not apply to the poor, however, many of whom sought information in vain, due to lack of education, published materials, and birth control clinics. Many working-class women had endured multiple pregnancies, miscarriages, and stillbirths, in addition to watching their children die young. Some desperately sought ways to limit the size of their families, who struggled with poverty. [Source – Ibid.]

[37] The term eugenics (from Greek roots meaning “good birth”) was coined in 1883 by the English anthropologist and explorer Francis Galton. A cousin of Charles Darwin, Galton undertook statistical studies to demonstrate the hereditary nature of particular human traits. The eugenics movement in the United States was fed by multiple streams: European thought about heredity, the emerging field of genetics, and progressive health and social legislation. [Source – Ibid.] Birth control did find supporters in the eugenics movement, which had a considerable following in the 1920s. Sexually transmitted diseases were on the rise as were unwanted pregnancies. Particularly alarmed by immigration from what they deemed the weaker races, believers in eugenics wanted to reduce impaired hereditary traits. One method to combat these supposed traits was through the sterilization of those deemed genetically tainted. Subsequently sterilization practices became law in many states. [ Source – Rodney P, Carlisle. Handbook to Life in America: The Roaring Twenties, 1920 to 1929 (Volume VI) (New York: Infobase Publishing, 2009). ]

[38] “Women in the Victorian Era”. Wikipedia. Wikipedia Foundation Inc., 5April 2016. Web. 5 April 2016. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women_in_the_Victorian_era&gt;.

[39] U.S.A. Department of Health, Education and Welfare. 100 Years of Marriage and Divorce Statistics: United States, 1867 – 1967. Washington D.C.: DHEW, 1973.

[40] “Divorce in the United States”. Wikipedia. Wikipedia Foundation Inc., 5 April 2016. Web. 5 April 2016. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Divorce_in_the_United_States&gt;.

[41] Kelly Boyer, Sagert. Flappers: A Guide to an American Subculture. (California: Greenwood Press, 2010).

[42] Ford’s production methods were premised on two central ideas: the assembly line and the uniformity of a product. Ford then linked efficient production to workers’ wages by introducing the legendary five – dollar, eight-hour day in 1914.The pay-off for the increase in wages and lower working hours was that workers had to submit to greater control over their non-working lives as well as in the workplace. The Ford Sociological Department, created to administer the five – dollar wage, sent field agents into the community to visit workers at home to make sure that they were living sober and moral lives before their wages could be raised. Thus, the activities of workers outside of work became directly connected to their income and the profits of the company. Ford’s empire consisted of towns, factories, hospitals and schools dedicated to the purpose of maintaining the smooth running and profitability of his business. Owning rubber plantations, hydroelectric dams, and steel, iron, coal and forestry works ensured the supply of raw materials. His ownership of railroads and shipyards ensured effective transportation of those materials. Over the 1920s, gangsters aiming to control the distribution of alcohol emulated Ford’s method of ‘vertical integration’ as the perfect business model. Ford’s lesser known activities, however, indicated that he was as interested in streamlining workers as streamlining the industry for vast profit: running welfare programmes, hospitals, schools and colleges ensured a supply of healthy, trained and rationalised productive bodies. Antonio Gramsci, in his now famous essay ‘Americanism  and Fordism’, written from prison in 1929, saw that Henry Ford’s system was not just a smoothly running factory but had become an ideology uniquely associated with ‘Americanism’ itself. Gramsci claimed that, in America, ‘rationalization has determined the need to elaborate a new type of man suited to the new type of work and productive process’, and that the concern of industrialists with the leisure-time behaviour of their workers indicated a new form of psychological, sexual and social conformity, which appeared to originate with the worker himself in the form of self-control. Concerns over the humanity of these types of production methods are reflected in the aesthetics and cultural debates of the period. Ford was not only ‘producing’ workers: the flip side of mass production was mass consumption. The growth of middle-class America – made up increasingly of people living in suburban houses, commuting, socialising and shopping using automobiles – fuelled intellectual concerns over the disappearance of ‘authentic’ culture into one that was mass produced, created to distract and depoliticise the consumer. The increasing dominance of mass-produced culture went hand in hand with the emergence of a culture of increased social control, mechanisation and conformity. [Source – Susan, Currell. American Culture in the 1920s (Edinburgh: – Edinburgh University Press, 2009).]

[43] Anonymous. “Rise of Consumerism & Mass Culture in the 1920s”. Web. 20 February 2016. < http://www.dipity.com/ryanragland/The-1920s/&gt;.

[44] Gerald R. Ford: Presidential Library & Museum. Mass Consumption”. All that Jazz: America in the 1920s, January – June 2004. Web. 9 February 2016. < https://www.fordlibrarymuseum.gov/museum/exhibits/1920s_exhibit/mass%20consumption.htm&gt;. [Museum Exhibition].

[45] Automobiles changed the ways Americans recreated. Teenagers and young adults found in the automobile an escape from home, a place where they could experiment with intimacy away from their parents’ gaze. Couples and families soon began vacationing by automobile, creating a new hospitality infrastructure of motels, auto camps, and drive-in restaurants. Automobiles also gave rise to a new spectator sport. Auto racing, which was growing in popularity before World War I, expanded in the 1920s. In fact, the origins of the NASCAR stock-car racing circuit took hold in the Jazz Age. Bootleggers and law enforcement officers of the time often had the same kind of car; whether rum-runners could escape pursuing authorities was a matter of their own mechanical abilities and the fine tuning of their cars. When the new racing league was formed, it was based on the premise that all cars started out equal but could be tuned for better performance and driver handling. [Source – James, Ciment (ed.). Encyclopedia of the Jazz Age: From the End of World War I to the Great Crash (New York: Sharpe Reference, 2013).]

[46] Slang for the Model T Ford.

[47] Rodney P, Carlisle. Handbook to Life in America: The Roaring Twenties, 1920 to 1929 (Volume VI) (New York: Infobase Publishing, 2009). When Henry Ford set out to democratize the automobile in the early 1900s, he had a singular vision and purpose: to build a car that was cheap and reliable enough for farmers and workers to afford and maintain. For the farmer, it would offer the opportunity to go to town for shopping, socializing, and entertainment. For the worker, it would provide a means of escaping the crowd and soot of the city for the wholesome air of the countryside. But what the puritanical Ford never envisioned—and, indeed, came to rue—was the automobile as a vehicle for youthful escapade. As in the case of new technologies before and since, customers, or at least their children, soon discovered the potential of the automobile in the pursuit of sex. Increasingly attractive to American youth, the automobile in the Jazz Age provided a new sense of freedom and a greater level of independence—not least in the realm of dating and sexual experimentation. Courtship during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries had been conducted mainly in the home. The motorcar, however, allowed a young couple to escape the gaze of their elders and, indeed, of society at large. By the 1920s, the design of most motorcars included such comforts as an enclosed cab and a heating system. These innovations aided couples choosing to use their cars for all levels of physical intimacy. Those seeking a private spot to steal a kiss—or more—could park in a secluded lovers’ lane, wooded park, or remote field. The new opportunity fostered public concern over illicit romance (especially premarital sex) in automobiles. Hoping to deter behaviour that many viewed as immoral but was indeed widespread, a number of colleges forbade students to have cars on campus. In some locations, the outcry even led to passage of ordinances that barred couples from parking. While some young couples used the automobile as a venue for sexual experimentation, the motorcar also played host to less innocent meetings among adults and gave access to new sites of business for the world’s oldest profession—prostitution. The motor hotels and drive-in restaurants that sprang up along America’s roadways during the 1920s provided fertile ground for what was referred to as the “pillow trade,” as well as extramarital affairs. Although the fear of the automobile as a facilitator of sexual promiscuity has largely passed, the role of cars in the transformation of sexual mores among America’s youth during the twentieth century remains unmistakable. [Source – James, Ciment (ed.). Encyclopedia of the Jazz Age: From the End of World War I to the Great Crash (New York: Sharpe Reference, 2013).]

[48] Movie venues or cinema halls.

[49] Kelly Boyer, Sagert. Flappers: A Guide to an American Subculture. (California: Greenwood Press, 2010).

[50] Celebrities have been part of American culture from early colonial days. All of these Americans assumed larger-than-life personas in the public imagination, yet many people could identify with them on a personal level. Although such celebrity existed long before the Jazz Age, it was during the 1920s that a full-blown celebrity culture arose. An industry developed to promote certain individuals as celebrities for a mass audience hungry for gossip and information about the lives and accomplishments of famous people. Several factors contributed to the growth of a celebrity culture in the 1920s. Mass media—film, tabloid journalism, radio, and newsreels—and the emergence of mass public spectacles like professional sports contests were the most important developments. But the advent of the public relations profession and increasingly sophisticated advertising agencies contributed to the celebrity culture as well. In addition, many Americans, particularly urban residents, were earning more money than they had in the past and could afford to buy a radio, a movie ticket, or a copy of the photo-laden, gossip-filled tabloid papers like New York’s Daily News, launched in 1919. Urban Americans were also developing new psychological needs. No longer tied to the web of relationships and institutions that characterized rural and small-town life, they longed for connection to larger communities. Fandom —whether for a sports team or a movie star—offered a new form of community and social connection. The 1920s also witnessed the growth of what might be called democratic celebrity, the possibility that anyone, no matter how obscure, might rise to national celebrity status. Or, at its most democratic, celebrity could be won by a person sitting atop a flagpole longer than anyone had before. The celebrities of the 1920s fell into three categories: film, sports, and news, the latter category encompassing those whose achievements or notoriety earned them lasting attention in the press and the public imagination. Theatre actors and opera stars had long been celebrities in America, but film offered something different to the public. Movies were at once larger than life and more intimate than the stage. Film was also a mass medium, with the same movie playing in hundreds of communities across the

country. The movie star, therefore, was both intimate and distant, familiar and larger than life, contradictory aspects that enhanced audience fascination. Hollywood studios and the stars themselves became increasingly adept at shaping a public persona through careful selection of film roles and well-oiled publicity machines. Finally, the rising publicity and media industries of the 1920s created celebrities out of people in the news—some heroic, some notorious. The most famous celebrity of the Jazz Age to emerge from news coverage was probably Charles Lindbergh, whose solo flight across the Atlantic in 1927 made him an international hero. However, the American public was equally fascinated by people they feared or loathed. Chicago gangster Al Capone became a national celebrity, featured in newsreels and tabloids, for a brutal mob war that left dozens of people dead in the late 1920s. [Source – James, Ciment (ed.). Encyclopedia of the Jazz Age: From the End of World War I to the Great Crash (New York: Sharpe Reference, 2013).]

[51] Kelly Boyer, Sagert. Flappers: A Guide to an American Subculture. (California: Greenwood Press, 2010).

[52] Electrical use, especially in factories, multiplied more than 20 times between1900 and 1929. Manufacturing was up 264% during the same time period. Telephone use increased 1500%; 12,000 pairs of silk stockings sold in 1900 – 300 million were purchased in 1929. And while there were 4,000 automobiles in America in 1900, by 1929 there were 26 million – one for every five people. Patents registered in the 1920s equaled the total number for the previous 25 years. Americans had embraced machinery, innovation, and consumerism to reach dizzying heights of change and growth. [Source – Anonymous. “Rise of Consumerism & Mass Culture in the 1920s”. Web. 20 February 2016. < http://www.dipity.com/ryanragland/The-1920s/&gt;.]

[53]The Twenties in Contemporary Commentary: Consumerism”. America in Class. National Humanities Centre, 2012. Web. 7 April 2016. <http://americainclass.org/sources/becomingmodern/prosperity/text1/politicalcartoons.pdf&gt;.

[54] Consumerism was marked by emancipation and democracy – the commandments of the Flapper. These women’s hedonism is highly marked by consumption: consumption of mass industrial products, consumption of mass culture and mass media, consumption of urban nightlife, consumption of sexuality – 1920s consumer society in Germany as well as in the United States received a noticeable boost. The impact of the flourishing economic circumstances on the phenomenon of the Flapper Girl can be seen in its ending when the global economic crisis began in October 1929, as well as in the political measures within the German labour market after 1933, and the reforming measures of the New Deal in the USA between 1933 and 1939 – these deep incisions in consumer culture and society put the end to the public appearance of the Flapper and to the phenomenon itself. [Source – Ole, Reinsch. “Flapper Girls – Feminism and Consumer Society in the 1920s”. Gender Forum, Vol. 40 (2013). Web.]

[55] Anonymous. “Rise of Consumerism & Mass Culture in the 1920s”. Web. 20 February 2016. < http://www.dipity.com/ryanragland/The-1920s/&gt;.

[56] Jacqueline, Herald. Fashions of a Decade: The 1920s (New York: Infobase Publishing, 2007).

[57] The development of consumer societies meant the erosion of the traditional values and attitudes of thrift and prudence. Expanding consumption was necessary to create markets for the fruits of rising production. Ironically this “required the nurture of qualities like wastefulness, self-indulgence, and artificial obsolescence, which directly negated or undermined the values of efficiency” and the Protestant Ethic that had originally nurtured capitalism. Advertisers sought to redefine people’s needs, encourage their wants and offer solutions to them via goods produced by corporations rather than allowing people to identify and solve their own problems, or to look to each other for solutions. Consumerism has also played a major role in legitimating a social system which rewards businessmen and top corporate executives with incomes many times those of ordinary workers. The consumer society gives ordinary workers some access to the good life. Surrounded by the bounty of their work—the television set, stereo, car, computer, white goods—they are less likely to question the conditions of their work, the way it dominates their life, and the lack of power that they have as workers. Advertisers constantly tell them that these are the fruits of success, that this is what life is all about. To question a system which delivers such plenty would seem perverse.  The growth in production in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries required growing markets and this meant expanding the consuming class beyond the middle and upper classes to include the working classes. Production between 1860 and 1920 increased by 12 to 14 times in the US while the population only increased three times. Supply outstripped demand and problems of scarcity were replaced by problems of how to create more demand.  By the early 1920s, when American markets were reaching saturation, ‘overproduction’ and lack of consumer demand was blamed for recession. More goods were being produced than a population with “set habits and means” could consume. There were two schools of thought about how this problem should be solved. One was that work hours should be decreased and the economy stabilised so that production met current needs and the work shared around. This view was held by intellectuals, labour leaders, reformers, educators and religious leaders. In America and in Europe, it was commonly believed that consumer desires had limits that could be reached and that production beyond those limits would result in increased leisure time for all. The opposing view, mainly held by business people and economists, was that overproduction could and should be solved by increasing consumption so that economic growth could continue. Manufacturers needed to continually expand production so as to increase their profits. Employers were also afraid of such a future because of its potential to undermine the work ethic and encourage degeneracy amongst workers who were unable to make proper use of their time. Increasing production and consumption guaranteed the ongoing centrality of work. Keen to maintain the importance of work in the face of the push for more leisure, businessmen extolled the virtues and pleasures of work and its necessity in building character, providing dignity and inspiring greatness. Economists too argued that the creation of work was the goal of production. John M. Clark, in a review of economic developments, stated: “Consumption is no longer the sole end nor production solely the means to that end. Work is an end in itself…” Creating work, and the right to work, he argued, had a higher moral imperative than meeting basic needs. Most businessmen believed that shorter hours meant less production and that this would limit the growth of America’s business enterprise. They argued that they could not afford shorter work weeks, that they would become uncompetitive and go bankrupt. They also feared that given extra free time, people would spend it in unsociable ways, turning to crime, vice, corruption and degeneracy and perhaps even radicalism. “The common people had to be kept at their desks and machines, lest they rise up against their betters.” And Edgerton, argued “nothing breeds radicalism more quickly than unhappiness unless it is leisure. As long as the people are kept profitably and happily employed there is little danger from radicalism.” In the US consumption rates were increasing in the mid 1920s and the “new economic gospel of consumption” gained many adherents. The idea that there were limits on consumer wants began to be eclipsed by the idea that such wants could be endlessly created. In 1929 the President’s Committee on Recent Economic Changes stated that “wants are almost insatiable; that one want satisfied makes way for another… by advertising and other promotional devices, by scientific fact finding, and by carefully pre – developed consumption, a measurable pull on production… has been created.” “People had to move away from habits of strict thrift toward habits of ready spending.”  From the 1920s corporations began advertising to the working classes in an effort to break down these old habits of thrift and encourage new consumerist desires. At the same time they sought to counter anti-corporate feelings generated by the conditions of work in their factories.  Higher wages helped in this shift from the Protestant ethic of asceticism to one of consumerism that fitted with the required markets for mass production. In boom times, workers were given increased wages rather than increased leisure. Between 1910 and 1929 the average purchasing power of workers in the US increased by 40%. With these rising wages they bought more and the upward spiral of production and consumption was maintained. In earlier times higher wages might encouraged workers to work shorter hours, but once workers had been coached into becoming consumers there was little danger of this. With the help of marketers and advertisers, workers could be trusted “to spend more rather than work less.” In this context it was important that leisure was not an alternative to work and an opportunity to reflect on life but rather a time for consumption. In this way the forty hour week, rather than threatening economic growth would foster it. Leisure goods such as radios, phonographs, movies, clothes, books and recreational facilities all benefited from increased leisure time. At the same time leisure had to be subordinate to work and importantly, a reason to work.  Business people still wanted to limit the reduction of work hours and believed that by ‘educating’ workers to become consumers, the demand from workers for reduced working hours would also be limited. Manufacturers expanded markets by expanding the range of goods they produced, moving from the basic requirements of living such as food, clothing and building materials to items such as cars and radios that provided entertainment and recreation. US unions fell in with the consumption solution to overproduction in the late 1920s and concentrated on fighting for higher wages. Ewen claims that consumerism, “the mass participation in the values of the mass-induced market,” was not a natural historical development but an aggressive device of corporate survival.” Discontent in the workplace could lead to a challenge to corporate authority but discontent in the consumer sphere provided an incentive to work harder and reflected an acceptance of the values of the capitalist enterprise. Similarly Robert Lane claims in his book on Political Ideology that: The more emphasis a society places upon consumption—through advertising, development of new products, and easy installment buying—the more will social dissatisfaction be channeled into intraclass consumption rivalry instead of interclass resentment and conflict…the more will labor unions focus upon the ‘bread and butter’ aspects of unionism, as contrasted to its ideological elements. If people were dependent on the products of the factories they were less likely to be critical of the appalling working conditions within them. The good life attained through this consumption was also compensated for the unpleasantness of work and distracted attention from it. Advertisements were careful not to depict people working in factories. A leading copywriter in the 1920s, Helen Woodward, advised that consumption could help to sublimate and redirect urges that might otherwise be expressed politically or aggressively. “To those who cannot change their whole lives or occupations,” she argued, “even a new line in a dress is often a relief.” Consumption allows people at the bottom of the social hierarchy to feel that they have some measure of access to the good life for all their troubles. The escape from real life provided by leisure activities allow people to continue what might otherwise be a dreary and downtrodden existence. Lisa Macdonald and Allen Myers from Green Left Weekly, claim workers attempt to gain ownership of what they produce and overcome their alienation through consumption: “it is only as purchasers, ‘shoppers’, that we are treated with the courtesy worthy of a human being.” Advertisers also undermined the nineteenth century “culture of character” which was the basis of the myth of the self-made man, someone who succeeded as a result of hard work, morality and discipline. In its place a “culture of personality” evolved which promoted the importance of presentation and appearance, things that advertisers were so helpfully offering to assist with. What mattered in getting ahead and influencing people was the impression a person made on others. Things like their clothes, their home furnishings, their personal cleanliness were all used by others to judge their character. Also advertising and consumerism played a major role in the acceptance of the capitalist vision and its associated inequalities. Roland Marchand in his book Advertising the American Dream argued that advertisers repeatedly used “the parable of the democracy of goods” to sell their products to the middle classes. Not only was the desire for social change displaced by a desire for changes in commodities, but political freedom was equated with consumer choice and political citizenship with participation in the market through consumption. Consumption was promoted as democratizing at the very time it was being used to pacify the political unrest of workers.  Vance Packard, in his book The Status Seekers argued that the use of consumer goods as status symbols was a deliberate strategy of advertisers, or ‘merchants of discontent’, who took advantage of the “upgrading urge” that people felt. The message that workers could improve their status through consumption was particularly aimed at people who had little chance of raising their status through their work because opportunities for promotion were slim. Employers sought to divert the dissatisfaction of workers with the nature of their work into a more personal dissatisfaction that could be fed with consumer goods: “offering mass produced visions of individualism by which people could extricate themselves from the mass.” The advertiser offered workers the possibility of gaining social status through buying goods that were better than their neighbors. The ownership of certain sorts of consumer goods, each ranked according to brand names, came to be seen as guides to an individual’s income which in turn, so it is believed, said something about his or her inner worth. Consumer goods became external signs, used to give a sense of hierarchy by members of a society characterized by an emphasis on change and on social and geographical mobility. Increased consumerism led to an increased emphasis on the importance of pay.  Many people work so as to earn the money to buy consumer goods and some measure of status that accompanies them. In a society where people don’t know each other very well, appearances are important and social status, though more securely attained through occupation, can be attained with strangers through consumption. When people are uprooted and move to the cities they are strangers to each other. Previously everyone knew one another’s business and the status that should be accorded to each person. In an anonymous city a person can adopt a certain lifestyle, clothes, car that is higher up the status ladder than their occupation would indicate, particularly if they are willing to go into debt to do it. Consumption then becomes an indicator of achievement. The desire to consume is often portrayed as a natural human characteristic that cannot be changed. However it is clear that populations have been manipulated into being avaricious consumers. What people really want, more than the multitude of goods on offer, is status and history has shown that the determinants of status can change. If we want to live in an ecologically sustainable society, then we need to award status to those who are happy with a basic level of comfort rather than those who accumulate possessions. If, as a community, we admired wisdom above wealth and compassion and cooperation above competition, we would be well on the way to undermining the motivation to consume. [Source – Sharon, Beder.  “Consumerism – an Historical Perspective”, Pacific Ecologist 9 (Spring 2004): pp. 42-48.]

[58] Joshua, Zeitz. Flapper: A Madcap Story of Sex, Style, Celebrity & the Women Who Made America Modern (United States: Crown Publishers, 2006).

[59] Dr. R. Murray – Leslie. [Source – “Flapper”. Wikipedia. Wikipedia Foundation Inc., 5 April 2016. Web. 5 April 2016. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flapper&gt;.]

[60] Gary Dean, Best. The Dollar Decade: Mammon & the Machine in 1920s America (Westport: Praeger Publishers, 2003).

[61] The American Jazz culture derived itself from the contemporary Jazz cultures of France and Great Britain.

[62] A popular Protestant sermon of the 1920s that spoke against the Flapper attire. [SourceJoshua, Zeitz. Flapper: A Madcap Story of Sex, Style, Celebrity & the Women Who Made America Modern (United States: Crown Publishers, 2006).]

[63] Paula S, Fass. The Damned & the Beautiful: American Youth in the 1920s (New York: Oxford University Press, 1977).

[64] Actresses who were famous sex symbols of the era.

[65] LaLonnie, Lehman. Fashion in the time of the Great Gatsby (U.S.A: Shire Publications, 2013).

[66] Jacqueline, Herald. Fashions of a Decade: The 1920s (New York: Infobase Publishing, 2007).

[67] Jean Patou, known for inventing knit swimwear and women’s tennis clothes, and for promoting sportswear in general (as well as creating the first suntan oil), helped shape the 1920s silhouette. Later in the decade, he revolutionized hemlines once again by dropping them from the knee to the ankle. Elsa Schiaparelli’s career built momentum in the ’20s with a focus mostly on knitwear and sportswear (her Surrealism-influenced garments like the lobster dress and shoe hat came later, in the 1930s). Coco Chanel and her jersey knits, little black dress and smart suits, all with clean, no-nonsense lines, arrived stateside along with Chanel No. 5 perfume and a desire for a sun-kissed complexion in the early 1920s. Madeleine Vionnet made an impression with the bias-cut garment, or a garment made using fabric cut against the grain so that it skimmed the wearer’s body in a way that showed her shape more naturally. Vionnet’s asymmetrical handkerchief dress also became a classic look from that time. Jeanne Lanvin, who started off making children’s clothing, made a name for herself when her wealthy patrons began requesting their own versions. Detailed beading and intricate trim became signatures of her designs. [Source – Emily, Spivack. “The History of the Flapper” (Part 5). Smithsonian.com, 5 April 2013. Web. 15 February 2016. < http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/the-history-of-the-flapper-part-5-who-was-behind-the-fashions-20996134/?no-ist&gt;.]

[68] French for “young lad”.

[69] LaLonnie, Lehman. Fashion in the time of the Great Gatsby (U.S.A: Shire Publications, 2013).

[70] The “primitive” appealed to the new machine-driven, urbanized world. As a result, the competitive mass-produced world of fashion borrowed a rich variety of decorative motifs from many cultures. These included the rhythmic stepped patterns of South America’s pre-Columbian ceramics and tapestries, stylized floral borders of East European folk embroidery, and the triangles of West African cloths. Indonesian art from the islands of Java and Bali started a fashion Batik—and had the advantage of being simple to experiment with at home, especially for those women who got hold of a manual on the craft by artist Jessie M. King (1922) called How Cinderella Went to the Ball. French painter Raoul Dufy designed hundreds of textiles for the Lyons silk firm Bianchini-Férier, many taking the theme of the jungle and other exotic images. [Source – Jacqueline, Herald. Fashions of a Decade: The 1920s (New York: Infobase Publishing, 2007).]

[71] The impact of the Thousand and One Nights, popularized in Paris by Diaghilev’s Russian Ballet production of Schéhérazade in 1910, continued to resound well into the twenties— especially in the field of color and the rich textures of Turkish velvet and brocade. Although Paul Poiret’s turbans and pantaloon gowns had faded from fashion, the love for Oriental styles lived on in classic styles. Historic and exotic themes were interpreted in a very individual way by Mariano Fortuny, the Venice-based dress and textile designer. The creations of the Callot Soeurs (of Russian ancestry) were covered in lavish Chinese-style embroideries worked into birds of paradise and lotus flowers in the colors of painted porcelain. The skills of their needlewomen also created tassels, scallops, and lavish beading around the knee-length hems, drawing attention to the legs. Japanese style, too, was popular; the decoration of T-shaped kimonos was easily translated into peasant-inspired Art Deco coats, overlaid with apple blossoms, bamboo, and mythical phoenixes. [Source – Ibid.]

[72] Ibid.

[73] As women wore different clothing for each part of the day, or for a different activity, clothing was designated as day dress, afternoon dress, day suits, day coats, evening dress, evening coats, sportswear and lounge wear. Day dresses were one-piece garments that hung from the shoulders in a straight line past the waist and hips to the hem. The straight line from shoulder to hem was interrupted by either a seam or decoration at the hip line. The dress usually had some sort of fullness from the hip to the hem to allow for walking. Techniques to achieve fullness were flaring the skirt, adding pleats or godets, and attaching floating panels. These skirt shapes also allowed for ease in getting into automobiles and dancing. Afternoon dresses repeated the same silhouette as the day dress, with the same long straight line, and were usually sleeveless. They extended to mid-calf or ankle in the front and fell to the floor in the back or had trains of various lengths. This hemline could be irregular like a handkerchief hem, ending with points extending to the shoe top or trailing on the floor in the back or on either or both sides. They were made from fabrics including silk, linen, wool, cotton and rayon. These fabrics were either plain with decoration, or patterned, or a combination of colours and trims. Such dresses were often worn to afternoon dances. Some afternoon dresses were sold as part of an ensemble, with a matching coat. Another garment choice for day wear was the suit. It consisted of a blouse worn with a skirt and matching jacket that maintained the boyish silhouette. Evening dresses were designed for movement as the woman was walking or dancing. A flowing motion was created using lightweight fabrics like chiffon, lace and crepes. Heavier fabrics of satin, faille, taffeta and velvet allowed the fabric to fly away from the body. To achieve movement, irregular panels, flounces, godets and pleated apron fronts were incorporated into the design. As leisure activities and travel grew more popular, the fashionable woman’s wardrobe included a new genre of clothing called “leisure” or “sportswear.” Coco Chanel’s sportswear designs provided freedom of movement and comfort with a young casual look that appealed to American women. Chanel had borrowed the masculine English country style, including cardigan sweaters and tweed fabric that she adapted into knitted suits, tweed coats and suits and jackets for women. While the boyish style prevailed in all her designs, the use of masculine fabrics made the fashion appear as new. Casual wear was quickly adopted for watching sporting events, informal gatherings and enjoying leisure time at resorts and recreation areas. Spending time in outdoor activities, while gaining a suntan to prove one had leisure time, was a new phenomenon that young American men and women embraced as they copied the activities of the wealthy upper class. Women’s sportswear in the 1927 Sears, Roebuck & Co. catalogue showed a sports suit that consisted of a top and skirt: “all wool knitted worsted two-piece ‘Tom-Boy’ sport suit.” It was described as “made in clever two-piece style, it consists of a slip-on blouse with a smart woven stripe pattern, while the skirt is of harmonizing solid colour. Has attractive adjustable belt, with leather ends and a buckle.” The colours offered were Robin Hood green and tan. [Source – LaLonnie, Lehman. Fashion in the time of the Great Gatsby (U.S.A: Shire Publications, 2013).]

[74] Ibid.

[75] “Flapper”. Wikipedia. Wikipedia Foundation Inc., 5 April 2016. Web. 5 April 2016. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flapper&gt;.

[76] Those in revolt against the upper-class “boiled shirts” (linen shirts with starched, stiff collars and cuffs) chose historicism, exoticism, peasant clothing, or work wear as an anti – fashion statement. Individually, members of avant-garde London’s Bloomsbury and Chelsea sets selected one or a combination of these alternatives. The painter Vanessa Bell, sister of writer Virginia Woolf, favoured strong shades of purple and vermilion and rummaged around the markets of Europe for old fabrics and costumes. Artist Walter Sickert, then in his sixties, dressed in loud, large-checked suits with a white bowler hat, while fellow artist Duncan Grant chose working dress in slightly quieter hues—a loose-fitting tweed jacket, open-necked shirt with

bandana, and corduroy trousers. Artistic women wore gypsy-type clothes, dirndl skirts with nipped-in waists, and head scarves instead of the more formal hat. New York’s Greenwich Village bohemians also went about hatless, and some individuals were especially eccentric. The writer Djuna Barnes was instantly recognizable by her dramatic black cloak, while a woman calling herself Baronin von Freytag-von-Loringhoven took everything to extremes by wearing black lipstick and yellow face powder and shaving her head. [Source – Jacqueline, Herald. Fashions of a Decade: The 1920s (New York: Infobase Publishing, 2007).]

[77] Ibid.

[78] Paula S, Fass. The Damned & the Beautiful: American Youth in the 1920s (New York: Oxford University Press, 1977).

[79] Jacqueline, Herald. Fashions of a Decade: The 1920s (New York: Infobase Publishing, 2007).

[80] Paula S, Fass. The Damned & the Beautiful: American Youth in the 1920s (New York: Oxford University Press, 1977).

[81] These cloche hats carry coded love symbols. For the initiated, tying the ribbon in an arrow-like way indicated a single girl who had already given her promise of love, while the firm knot meant she was married—and a flirtatious bow signalled the independent, fancy-free girl. [Source – Jacqueline, Herald. Fashions of a Decade: The 1920s (New York: Infobase Publishing, 2007).]

[82] Paula S, Fass. The Damned & the Beautiful: American Youth in the 1920s (New York: Oxford University Press, 1977).

[83] Ibid.

[84] Ibid.

[85] Lyrics of the song Hot Lips from Pacific!.

[86] Like many other consumer-oriented businesses in the United States, the beauty industry—cosmetics and hair and nail products—underwent a dramatic transformation during the 1920s. This was closely related to a variety of economic and social trends, including a shift away from local production toward nationally recognized brands, and the increased reliance on advertising to promote the products. In addition, the rise of chain stores offered lower prices and wider distribution, making previously expensive items more affordable. Also at work were modernizing forces that strongly impacted the growing beauty industry. One was the women’s rights movement and the social liberation that followed the successful crusade for women’s suffrage, achieved with ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920. Women felt freer to experiment with new ideals of beauty, including more daring fashions and a more liberal use of cosmetics. The Jazz Age was marked by a new explicitness in the public display of the female body, and the new openness was a radical departure from the ideals of Victorian times. Beauty products represented a high-growth industry. Revenues climbed from about $14 million in 1909 to more than $140 million in 1929, with much of the growth coming in the last ten-year span. Key to the increase was the rise of national chain stores. By 1929, Woolworth’s, the largest chain store in America, enjoyed annual sales of roughly a quarter-billion dollars. Chain stores operated in urban centres, small towns, and the newly emerging suburbs around major cities. They used economies of scale and efficient distribution systems to bring costs down and make beauty products, among other items, affordable to more women. They also offered greater choice and a new democratic atmosphere to buying. Before World War I, most beauty goods were sold in salons, where working women often felt intimidated and unwelcome. Chain stores, by contrast, afforded buyers relative anonymity.  The innovative design also facilitated mass production and distribution of the new product. Lipstick, cheap and portable, came in a wide array of colours, offering a quick and easy way for women to personalize their look. By the end of the Jazz Age, lipstick was the most widely sold cosmetic product in America. With sales of cosmetics and other beauty products growing rapidly, new entrepreneurs moved to exploit the expanding market. The beauty industry represented one of the few commercial arenas in which women played a significant role. Two immigrant women, Elizabeth Arden from Canada and Helena Rubinstein from Poland, both of whom marketed nationally recognized lines of cosmetics under their own names, were among the most successful beauty product manufacturers of the decade—and beyond. Nationally distributed brands also guaranteed a certain level of quality. The Food and Drug Act of 1906 had outlawed the use of harmful ingredients and misleading labelling. The creation of national brands further assured consumers that they were getting consistent quality. Advertising was a major force both in the growth of the cosmetics industry in general and in the establishment of brand loyalty. Between 1915 and 1930, advertising expenditures on beauty products in the top thirty mass circulation magazines grew from $1.3 million to $16 million annually. Advertising dollars spent on the new medium of radio between 1927 and 1930 soared from $300,000 annually to $3.2 million. The ideal of feminine beauty changed significantly during the Jazz Age but did not represent a complete break from the past. Makeup was usually applied conservatively, to emphasize chastity and delicacy, a look captured in the virginal, wraith-like film stars of the pre – war era, most notably Lillian Gish and Mary Pickford, both of whom used makeup to downplay their features. Eyebrows were carefully plucked, mascara barely applied, and lip rouge used to form the tiniest of Cupid’s bow mouths.

Several trends in the 1920s helped to supplant that virginal ideal of feminine beauty with a more sexualized image. Growing urbanization and the political and economic liberation it afforded women freed growing numbers of working women from the constraints of church, family, and community. The birth control movement in the 1920s signalled a new willingness of women to accept their sexuality rather than repress it. The most glaring symbol of this sexual liberation was film star Theda Bara, who flaunted her screen persona as a seductive vamp with revealing outfits and highly stylized cosmetics—kohl-lined eyes, heavy applications of mascara, and reddened lips — applied by makeup artists such as Rubinstein and Max Factor. Films and advertising increasingly emphasized physical attractiveness as an important attribute of a woman’s identity. The result was the sexualized image of the flapper, the young, liberated, hedonistic by-product of the women’s rights movement and the carefree Jazz Age. The flapper represented the antithesis of the Victorian ideal of feminine beauty. Her makeup was flashy, with brightly painted lips, and her clothes were revealing.  While at first glance this androgynous look seemed to deemphasize female sexuality, it in fact enhanced it by making women appear free and independent. The androgynous effect also applied to the male aesthetic of the 1920s. Both men’s and women’s fashions emphasized the lithe, tapered look, and men’s hairstyles emphasized a highly stylized cut, similar to the bob, with a sleekness achieved through beauty products. The new men’s style was personified by Hollywood’s first male sex symbol, Rudolph Valentino. Again, advertising and the silver screen helped establish the new aesthetic. Historians often cite the 1920s as the birth of modern American society, with its mass forms of entertainment, its liberated sexuality, and its nationally advertised consumer culture. Nowhere was this more evident than in the growing beauty industry and the newly sexualized ideal of feminine beauty, established by Madison Avenue and Hollywood, and taken to heart by increasing numbers of urbanized and liberated women. [Source – James, Ciment (ed.). Encyclopedia of the Jazz Age: From the End of World War I to the Great Crash (New York: Sharpe Reference, 2013).] As far back as the 1890s, French actress Polaire pioneered a look which included short, dishevelled hair, emphatic mouth and huge eyes heavily outlined in kohl. The evolving flapper look required “heavy makeup” in comparison to what had previously been acceptable outside of professional usage in the theatre. With the invention of the metal lipstick container as well as compact mirrors, bee stung lips came into vogue. Dark eyes, especially kohl-rimmed, were the style. Blush came into vogue now that it was no longer a messy application process. Originally, pale skin was considered most attractive. However, tanned skin became increasingly popular after Coco Chanel showed off a tan after a holiday – it suggested a life of leisure, without the onerous need to work. Women wanted to look fit, sporty, and, above all, healthy. [Source – “Flapper”. Wikipedia. Wikipedia Foundation Inc., 5 April 2016. Web. 5 April 2016. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flapper&gt;.]

[87] Gary Dean, Best. The Dollar Decade: Mammon & the Machine in 1920s America (Westport: Praeger Publishers, 2003).

[88] Ibid.

[89] Paula S, Fass. The Damned & the Beautiful: American Youth in the 1920s (New York: Oxford University Press, 1977).

[90] Tim, McNeese. World War I & the Roaring Twenties, 1914 – 1928 (New York: Infobase Publishing (Chelsea House), 2010).

[91] Paula S, Fass. The Damned & the Beautiful: American Youth in the 1920s (New York: Oxford University Press, 1977).

[92] Jacqueline, Herald. Fashions of a Decade: The 1920s (New York: Infobase Publishing, 2007).

[93] Joshua, Zeitz. Flapper: A Madcap Story of Sex, Style, Celebrity & the Women Who Made America Modern (United States: Crown Publishers, 2006).

[94] Paula S, Fass. The Damned & the Beautiful: American Youth in the 1920s (New York: Oxford University Press, 1977).

[95] In the late 1920s, George W. Hill, owner of American Tobacco, hired America’s leading public relations guru, Edward Bernays, to design a new advertising initiative. The problem was simple: Despite a decade’s worth of movies, magazine photos, and F. Scott Fitzgerald stories, many Americans still regarded women smokers as “hussies.” Working on behalf of his new, prize client, Bernays hired a prominent psychoanalyst, A. A. Brill, to see what might be done to eliminate once and forever the negative connotations associated with cigarette-wielding women. “Some women regard cigarettes as symbols of freedom,” Brill advised. “Smoking is a sublimation of oral eroticism: holding a cigarette in the mouth excites the oral zone. It is perfectly normal for women to want to smoke cigarettes. Further, the first women who smoked probably had an excess of masculine components and adopted the habit as a masculine act. But today the emancipation of women has suppressed many of the feminine desires. More women now do the same work as men do.… Cigarettes, which are equated with men, become torches of freedom.” Torches of freedom. The idea leaped out from the page at Edward Bernays. “I found a way to help break the taboo against women smoking in public,” he later boasted – “Why not a parade of women lighting torches of freedom—smoking cigarettes?” Bernays contacted Ruth Hale, “a leading feminist,” and arranged to have “ten young women lighting ‘torches of freedom’ ” at the 1929 Easter parade on Fifth Avenue. Newspapers carried front-page items marvelling at this “bold protest against women’s inequality.” And American Tobacco had itself a new market segment. [Source – Joshua, Zeitz. Flapper: A Madcap Story of Sex, Style, Celebrity & the Women Who Made America Modern (United States: Crown Publishers, 2006).]

[96] Bohemianism refers to the tendencies, behaviours, and attitudes associated with certain counterculture groups, especially artists, writers, actors, students, and others who have seceded from the middle class. The term “bohemian” was used in fifteenth-century France to refer to gypsies, who were mistakenly thought to have been natives of the Czech province of Bohemia. American bohemianism, initially personified by the writers Edgar Allan Poe and Walt Whitman, emerged in the United States during the nineteenth century and peaked in the years just prior to the nation’s entry into World War I. Among intellectuals and artists of the time, bohemianism was inseparable from the same reforming impulse that inspired early feminism, socialism, and even anarchism. Bohemians believed in personal liberation and were in rebellion against politics as usual, patriarchy, organized religion, militarism, capitalism, and middle-class values. Many bohemians and their reform-minded peers convinced themselves that a new age would be ushered in by virtue of their rebellious example. Pre – war bohemians generally drew no distinction between aesthetics and rebellion. They sought liberation through creativity. They favoured modernism, epitomized by the writing of James Joyce, T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, William Faulkner, and others. These new movements challenged conventional notions of art, literature, and reality. They also offended many in the middle class, thereby exposing the alleged philistinism of the bourgeoisie. Beyond their admiration for iconoclastic art and radical ideas, bohemians showed their disdain for middle-class expectations by their openly decadent lifestyles. They did not value steady jobs, comfortable dwellings, or fashionable furnishings. Indeed, they romanticized the poor and made a virtue of poverty, even though many were from well-to-do families, had attended elite universities, and travelled in Europe. They advocated free love, they drank, and a few experimented with drugs. They slept through the morning and lived for the night. They adopted modes of dress that made them instantly distinguishable from the more respectable elements of society. Women wore sandals and shapeless dresses made of coarse cloth; some smoked in public, a behaviour much frowned upon in polite society. Men went un – groomed and wore rough flannel shirts. Bohemianism was not confined to any single location, though its communities were based predominantly in cities. There were Bohemians in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Charleston, Boston, Philadelphia, and even Lincoln, Nebraska, and Oklahoma City, all attracting bohemians from small towns and other regional backwaters. Bohemians seeking a temporary break from city life often gathered at such summer retreats as Provincetown, on Massachusetts’s Cape Cod, or in Taos, New Mexico, or Carmel, California. But the most influential concentrations of bohemianism in the United States immediately before and after World War I were to be found in Chicago and New York City, particularly Greenwich Village. [Source – James, Ciment (ed.). Encyclopedia of the Jazz Age: From the End of World War I to the Great Crash (New York: Sharpe Reference, 2013).]

[97] Paula S, Fass. The Damned & the Beautiful: American Youth in the 1920s (New York: Oxford University Press, 1977).

[98] Gary Dean, Best. The Dollar Decade: Mammon & the Machine in 1920s America (Westport: Praeger Publishers, 2003).

[99] By the end of World War I, the popular image of cigarettes and tobacco in American society had taken a dramatic shift from that of previous decades. Before the war, particularly since the 1870s, the use of tobacco had fallen under strong criticism from health advocates, social reformers, and corporate employers. In particular, smoking was viewed as a cause and symptom of degeneracy in moral, mental, and physical health, and was generally perceived as a habit of the lower classes, of immigrants, and of artistic people outside mainstream society. After the United States entered the war in 1916, however, former antismoking organizations such as the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, and the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) developed morale-boosting programs to send cigarettes to American soldiers overseas. The YMCA distributed more than 2 billion cigarettes to the troops in Europe. While smoking remained a prominent public health issue during the 1920s, the respectability it gained during the war led to increased cigarette consumption throughout the decade. Cigarettes were prominent in national magazine and billboard advertising campaigns. Popular actors smoked cigarettes in motion pictures, and cigarette smoking was featured in the events portrayed in newspapers and novels. Smoking was viewed by consumers as a symbol of sophistication, as well as a form of liberation from society’s strictures. The number of women smokers more than doubled during the decade, in part a reflection of their efforts to redefine their traditional roles in society and establish economic and political parity with men. Anticigarette activists pressed Will Hayes, the powerful head of the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America, to eliminate film scenes of women smoking cigarettes because they believed this portrayal threatened the future of American womanhood. Lucy Page Gaston, who coined the term “coffin nail” to describe cigarettes, helped found several anticigarette leagues, continuing her fight against tobacco until her death in 1924. After Prohibition went into effect in 1920, Gaston was joined in her efforts by the popular evangelist Billy Sunday, a former professional baseball player who often used stories from his baseball past to dramatize the dangers of smoking cigarettes and to illustrate how cigarettes could lead to mental decline and even insanity. Schools and universities also went on the attack.  Even in this climate, cigarette sales continued to climb. In 1926, U.S. cigarette consumption reached 85 billion for the year. By the end of the decade, consumption of cigarettes continued to rise. But throughout the decade, medical researchers reported the dangers associated with inhaling and the absorption of nicotine, and high mortality rates for infants born of smoking mothers. Opponents to cigarettes, such as Senator Reed Smoot of Utah, attempted to regulate tobacco advertising by including tobacco under the auspices of the Pure Food and Drug Administration. Smoot stated that his concern was not with tobacco use by adults, but advertising aimed at children. He was joined by the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, which sought to control advertising and institute campaigns to educate children against smoking. The dramatic increase in smoking, however, was reflected in federal tax revenues from cigarette sales, which in 1927 soared more than $28 million above the total in 1925. Smoking cigarettes had become a common part of everyday life. [Source – James, Ciment (ed.). Encyclopedia of the Jazz Age: From the End of World War I to the Great Crash (New York: Sharpe Reference, 2013).]

[100] Good Housekeeping noted in 1929 that the production of cigarettes had doubled in the 1920s—from 53 million to 106 million—and found much of the increase attributable to the rise in female smoking, especially by young women. It wrote: “The number of girls under twenty-one who now smoke cigarettes is said to be greater than the number of boys who smoked twenty years ago. It is a common sight, at least in the business offices of New York, to see young girls sitting at their desks smoking.” It found the increase spurred by greater and more skilful newspaper and magazine advertising, the influence of movies and radio, and of billboards. The fad among women to be slim had spurred the tobacco companies to emphasize the “slimming” effects of cigarettes. [Source – Gary Dean, Best. The Dollar Decade: Mammon & the Machine in 1920s America (Westport: Praeger Publishers, 2003).]

[101] Smoking is not a sexual activity in itself. In the abstract, it is morally neutral. In the context of the specific values of American society, however, it was both morally value-laden and sexually related. Like cosmetics, smoking was sexually suggestive and associated with disreputable women who self-consciously rejected traditional standards of propriety and morality. College administrators objected to smoking because it undermined an ideal of proper female behaviour and decency. As the Dean of Women at Ohio State University noted, smoking was simply not “done in the best circles,” and it was, in the words of the Dean of Rhode Island State College, “an unladylike act.” In 1920, when four girls were dismissed from a female seminary in the Midwest, the administration admitted that smoking did not make them “bad girls” but claimed that such behaviour would undermine commonly accepted standards of decency and might lead to other socially objectionable practices. The implication was clear. The objection to women’s smoking was based on traditional criteria of proper conduct for women; once one of these was questioned, all of them would be questioned. The right to smoke was denied to women as part of the double standard of morality. The implicit fear was that smoking would have an immoral effect on women because it removed one further barrier from the traditional differentiation of the roles and behaviours of the sexes. Smoking implied a promiscuous equality between men and women and was an indication that women could enjoy the same vulgar habits and ultimately also the same vices as men. It further eroded a tradition that held women to be morally superior to men. Moreover, the kind of woman who smoked in the period before the twenties was disreputable or defiant, and smoking was therefore associated with immorality.  Those who objected to smoking could give no specific moral definition to the habit. They were forced instead to argue that smoking was simply “unladylike.” The opponents of smoking were ultimately helpless when the young Flapper rejected the insincerity and dubious distinctions of such conventions. smoking involved a question of morality or propriety. Undoubtedly, many women began to smoke in the twenties because

it was a glamorous affectation and somewhat naughty. [Source – Paula S, Fass. The Damned & the Beautiful: American Youth in the 1920s (New York: Oxford University Press, 1977).]

[102] Meredith Louise, Qualls. “Lois Long, 1925-1939: Playing “Miss Jazz Age”. Diss. U of Alabama, 2013.

[103] Tabloid pseudonym of Lois Long.

[104] The Flapper’s defiance was also aimed at the Prohibition Laws of the 1920s; her behaviour symbolised the microcosm in the greater macrocosm in which the Anti – Prohibition Movement operated. The single most important anti-Prohibition organization in the country in the 1920s, the Association Against the Prohibition Amendment (AAPA), lobbied Congress and launched publicity campaigns in its effort to overturn the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution. Believing that the consumption of alcohol needed to be moderated, not outlawed, they adopted the slogan “Temperance, not wet.” The founder, Stayton and the AAPA argued that Prohibition was an unjust extension of federal power into the private lives of Americans and that it deprived citizens and the government of a valued source of revenue. Stayton found a receptive audience, and the association boasted 100,000 members by the end of 1920. He undertook a campaign of letter writing, pamphlet distribution, and speaking tours that sparked the interest and the support of some of the nation’s most prominent businesspeople. By 1932, the movement to repeal Prohibition had become so widespread that it attracted the attention of presidential candidate Franklin D. Roosevelt, who called for a “wiser plan” to regulate the consumption of alcohol. In February 1933, Congress passed the Twenty-first Amendment to the Constitution, overturning Prohibition, and it went to the states for ratification. On December 4, 1933, the day before final ratification, Roosevelt issued Executive Order No. 6474, creating the Federal Alcohol Control Administration (FACA) to investigate and regulate the sale of alcohol and alcoholic beverages. Prohibition was officially repealed on December 5, 1933, opening the door to employment for more than 1 million Americans and filling government coffers with tax and licensing revenues that reached $1 billion annually by 1940. The sale of alcohol resumed in most states, but under various restrictions. [Source – James, Ciment (ed.). Encyclopedia of the Jazz Age: From the End of World War I to the Great Crash (New York: Sharpe Reference, 2013).]

[105] Paula S, Fass. The Damned & the Beautiful: American Youth in the 1920s (New York: Oxford University Press, 1977).

[106] Slang for “illegal liquor”.

[107] Illegal alcohol manufactured in bathrooms of common households.

[108] Paula S, Fass. The Damned & the Beautiful: American Youth in the 1920s (New York: Oxford University Press, 1977).

[109] Ibid.

[110] Joshua, Zeitz. Flapper: A Madcap Story of Sex, Style, Celebrity & the Women Who Made America Modern (United States: Crown Publishers, 2006).

[111] Gary Dean, Best. The Dollar Decade: Mammon & the Machine in 1920s America (Westport: Praeger Publishers, 2003).

[112] A municipal ordinance at a city dance hall in Cleveland, Ohio, prohibiting revellers flirting and fast dancing. [SourceJoshua, Zeitz. Flapper: A Madcap Story of Sex, Style, Celebrity & the Women Who Made America Modern (United States: Crown Publishers, 2006).]

[113] Arnold, Shaw. The Jazz Age: Popular Music in the 1920s (New York: Oxford University Press Inc., 1987).

[114] F. Scott Fitzgerald, the great chronicler of 1920s American culture, coined the lasting nickname for the era—the Jazz Age. For Fitzgerald, and for his contemporaries, jazz music—with its fast-paced, syncopated rhythms, improvisation, and hedonistic associations—symbolized all that was modern, carefree, and sometimes illicit in the years following the reform-minded Progressive Era and the sacrifices of World War I. Jazz spoke to the carefree, modern spirit of the times. Jazz was not invented in the 1920s, but that decade saw its popularity grow exponentially, spreading beyond the confines of New Orleans and other black urban centres in the South and North to a wider white audience. The Great Migration, during which waves of African Americans moved northward, brought many musicians and their audiences from the Deep South to the urban centres of the Northeast, Midwest, and West. In addition, radio and the spread of phonographs made jazz available to a much larger audience. Jazz originated at the turn of the twentieth century in New Orleans, a melting pot of French, Spanish, Anglo, and, most important, African cultures (the word jazz may have derived from an African American slang term for sex). There, two musical influences—minstrel show bands and Creole (mixed-race) marching bands—came together to create ragtime, the direct precursor of jazz. Until about 1920, the terms jazz and ragtime were often used interchangeably to describe the infectious and danceable music played in New Orleans nightclubs and brothels. But jazz and ragtime are quite different musical forms. Whereas ragtime is meant to be played as written, jazz is improvised. As large numbers of rural blacks began to move to urban New Orleans in the first two decades of the twentieth century, they brought a new musical influence to the emerging jazz style: the blues, a rural African American folk music that was itself a musical hybrid of African rhythms, old slave work songs, and black spirituals.  By the end of World War I, jazz had established itself as a major musical influence in cities up and down the Mississippi Valley, into the Northeast, and across to the West Coast. The primary force behind its spread was the Great Migration, the stream of predominantly African American migrants out of the rural South that began in the early 1900s and continued well after World War II.  The migration produced new or enlarged African American neighbourhoods in urban centres such as New York, Chicago, and Detroit, and created new audiences for New Orleans musicians. These included the two most important purveyors of jazz music in the first two decades of the twentieth century: cornet player Joe “King” Oliver and his Creole Jazz Band, and pianist and composer Ferdinand “Jelly Roll” Morton and his Red Hot Peppers. [Source – James, Ciment (ed.). Encyclopedia of the Jazz Age: From the End of World War I to the Great Crash (New York: Sharpe Reference, 2013).]

[115] Rodney P, Carlisle. Handbook to Life in America: The Roaring Twenties, 1920 to 1929 (Volume VI) (New York: Infobase Publishing, 2009).

[116] Jacqueline, Herald. Fashions of a Decade: The 1920s (New York: Infobase Publishing, 2007).

[117] Ibid.

[118] Paula S, Fass. The Damned & the Beautiful: American Youth in the 1920s (New York: Oxford University Press, 1977).

[119] Jazz was more than just a popular musical form of the 1920s. It was the centrepiece of a whole new black—and sometimes racially integrated—urban nightlife. The outlawing of alcohol by the Eighteenth Amendment in 1920 created a new underground culture in America’s large cities, focused on the illegal bar, or speakeasy. There were hundreds of speakeasies in most cities during Prohibition; New York had as many as 30,000. Some were just back-alley dives where a patron could obtain cheaply made liquor at a makeshift bar. Others were more elegant affairs, with fancy interiors, strict dress codes, and customers from the upper echelons of business, culture, and politics. Many of these upscale—and some downscale—establishments featured jazz, which helped to draw customers and provided work for musicians. Jazz was the ideal musical form for the speakeasy; its syncopated rhythms called out for dancing, and its improvisational style spoke to a clientele eager to let their inhibitions be washed away with illegal drinking. Of course, jazz flourished in legitimate clubs, too. Perhaps the most important jazz venue of the 1920s was Harlem’s Cotton Club in New York City. Although briefly closed down for selling alcohol in 1925, its owner, bootlegger Owney Madden, usually paid off enough police and politicians to keep it open. The big Northern cities offered more than an income for jazz and blues musicians from the South. They also infused jazz with the rhythms of modern urban life and provided meeting places where different jazz styles could cross-pollinate, for it was not just New Orleans that produced the African American jazz greats of the 1920s. In addition, Northern cities, with their large and well-patronized nightclubs, required larger bands. The improvisational nature of jazz encouraged musicians to learn from and modify each other’s playing styles, and large bands meant that more musicians were exposed to a variety of styles, leading to further innovation. The hiring of such virtuoso talent led to perhaps the most important innovation in jazz of the 1920s: the solo. Unlike ragtime and early jazz, which consisted primarily of ensemble playing, the jazz form pioneered by emerging bands such as Ellington’s and virtuoso players such as Armstrong featured lengthy, improvisational solos alternating with stretches of ensemble playing.  Jazz crossed racial lines in the 1920s, and not just because white audiences flocked to the jazz-featuring speakeasies and clubs in black parts of town. Whites increasingly began to play the music as well. Paul Whiteman, the self-proclaimed “king of jazz,” was a popular bandleader of the 1920s; among his musicians was Bix Beiderbecke, an innovative cornet player from Iowa. Jazz music also influenced American classical music. It was Whiteman who commissioned composer George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, a classical composition heavily inflected with jazz rhythms that Whiteman debuted in 1924. Given the intense racial prejudice of the era, however, most jazz bands—white and black—remained segregated, as did most clubs, despite being located in supposedly integrated cities in the North. The Cotton Club, in the predominantly black Harlem neighbourhood of Manhattan, featured black musicians such as Ellington and his band but served white customers only. Moreover, the Cotton Club featured jungle-themed, sexually provocative jazz dance routines that would seem offensive stereotyping to modern audiences, but they played to white audiences’ fascination with the exoticism of black culture. Musicians, however, were perhaps less prejudiced. Recognizing the talent of black musicians—as well as black audiences’ greater acceptance of rawer and more innovative musical styles—many white musicians flocked to black clubs and speakeasies after their own gigs at white venues were finished for the night. By the mid-1920s, the centre of American jazz had shifted northward to Chicago and, by the late 1920s, eastward to New York City, the country’s recording capital during the Jazz Age. Because of segregation in most recording studios, the first jazz recordings were made by all-white bands in the late 1910s. Recordings tempered the improvisational quality of jazz but helped popularize it beyond the major urban centres where audiences might hear it performed live. Records also brought new jazz sounds to musicians in far-flung places, allowing for further cross-pollination of styles. Equally important for jazz’s diffusion was the new medium of radio. Following the opening of the first commercial station in Pittsburgh in 1920, radio stations sprang up across the country, and the sale of sets skyrocketed, with seven in ten households owning a radio by 1930. By the mid- 1920s, radio stations in major cities across the country were featuring live jazz music for audiences in the millions. By the end of the 1920s and the onset of the Great Depression, jazz was the most popular musical form of urban America, at a time when the nation was being transformed from a predominantly rural to a predominantly urban society. Jazz, in effect, provided the sound track for that transition, and it would go on to even greater heights of popularity in the era of Big Band and swing in the late 1930s and 1940s. But no period is more closely associated with this American musical form—perhaps America’s greatest contribution to world music—than the uninhibited era it gave its name to: the Jazz Age. [Source – James, Ciment (ed.). Encyclopedia of the Jazz Age: From the End of World War I to the Great Crash (New York: Sharpe Reference, 2013).]

[120] Paula S, Fass. The Damned & the Beautiful: American Youth in the 1920s (New York: Oxford University Press, 1977).

[121] Joshua, Zeitz. Flapper: A Madcap Story of Sex, Style, Celebrity & the Women Who Made America Modern (United States: Crown Publishers, 2006).

[122] Ibid.

[123] The Jazz Age marked what contemporary social observers and critics often called the “Age of Play.” Indeed, several of the era’s most dramatic changes occurred in the realm of recreation and leisure. Older, established forms of commercial entertainment such as amusement parks, vaudeville shows, dance halls, and poolrooms continued to attract millions of Americans, but newer forms of recreation, particularly joyriding, listening to the radio, attending motion pictures, and drinking and dancing in speakeasies, became popular pastimes. Meanwhile, technological innovations such as lighted athletic fields, heated swimming pools, and artificial ice rinks extended the hours and seasons of certain sports, thus contributing to the increased popularity and growth of recreational sports. During the 1920s, the nation’s expanding commercial entertainment and new technologies offered Americans an unprecedented number and variety of diversions to fill their leisure hours. Several interrelated trends contributed to the expansion of recreation and leisure during the 1920s. Workweeks shortened, and wages and salaries rose, while the cost of living remained comparatively stable. Paid vacations, a new fringe benefit of white-collar employment, became increasingly common. Modern advertisements glorifying leisure and consumption encouraged Americans to spend money on consumer products and commercial recreation in order to achieve self-fulfilment and happiness. Equally important was America’s emergence as an urban, industrial nation, a situation that changed people’s attitudes toward recreation and leisure. Once considered unnecessary and even frivolous, recreation and leisure came to form a significant feature of modern life. Educators and social workers argued that exercise was essential for healthy physical and mental development. Recreation also provided cathartic relief from the monotony and stress produced by industrial labour and office work. The most revolutionary changes in Jazz Age recreation and leisure resulted from new technologies, and none transformed American life more than the automobile. Driving for sheer pleasure, or joyriding, emerged as a popular pastime, especially for younger Americans. On weekends, urban families motored out to the rural countryside to go picnicking, camping, or sightseeing. Rural families drove to cities and towns where they could shop, attend a dance, or take in a movie. Young couples escaped parental scrutiny by driving to amusement parks, movie theatres, nightclubs, dance halls, and soda parlours. Americans’ recreation and leisure activities varied extensively during the 1920s, but they also revealed sharp class divisions among participants and consumers. Some performances, such as operas, orchestral concerts, ballets, and Broadway shows, attracted affluent urban patrons, while baseball games, boxing matches, vaudeville shows, and amusement parks appealed to the working-class. Generally, most forms of commercial entertainment tended to be inexpensive and within the reach of even many working-class patrons.  In some ways, the growth of recreation and leisure undermined the cohesion of American families. Children and parents increasingly pursued separate forms of recreation. College life in particular offered young people an enormous amount of relatively unsupervised leisure time during which to attend football games, go to dances, and otherwise socialize with friends. During the 1920s, millions of young Americans consciously abandoned their parents’ behavioural and moral codes and participated in fast-changing fads in fashion, music, dancing, and speech. This brash, new youth culture often disturbed ministers, educators, and conservative Americans. Leisure and recreation became increasingly organized during the 1920s as a result of expanding membership in fraternal orders, civic organizations, and social clubs, such as the Shriners, Elks, and Kiwanis. These organizations sponsored meetings, conventions, parties, and dances. So, too, did chambers of commerce, country clubs, athletic clubs, drama clubs, literary societies, bridge groups, and church groups. During the Jazz Age, the emergence of a national mass culture led to increasingly standardized forms of recreation and leisure. Motion pictures, radio, phonograph records, modern advertising, and mass-circulation magazines and tabloids contributed to the homogenization of American popular culture by quickly disseminating the latest songs, dances, fads, and catchphrases across the nation. The expansion of commercial entertainment, particularly motion pictures, radio, and spectator sports, encouraged a growing trend of passive recreation and resulted in what Silas Bent, writing in Machine Made Man (1930), called “spectatoritis.” But whether joyriding in an automobile, playing a round of golf, or reading a movie magazine, Americans of the 1920s spent unprecedented hours and dollars on recreational and leisure pursuits. [Source – James, Ciment (ed.). Encyclopedia of the Jazz Age: From the End of World War I to the Great Crash (New York: Sharpe Reference, 2013).]

[124] The 1920s marked the emergence of a new morality in America, as many members of society, especially young people, began to accept new sexual attitudes and less restrictive sexual standards than had prevailed during the Victorian era of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The experience of World War I had eroded much of the idealism of the Progressive movement. Instead, many Americans exhibited the restlessness, boredom, and hedonism that came to characterize the decade known as the Roaring Twenties. The period was also marked by social and cultural conflict between those who espoused the newer attitudes and those—many of them older, rurally based, or religiously fundamentalist—who deplored the social and cultural changes.  The new sexual attitudes were also linked to the increasing secularization of American life and the growing awareness of a generation gap between the old and the young. The Jazz Age sexual revolution was coupled with the rise of the “New Woman.” Seeking to overturn social taboos, they began smoking and drinking  alcohol socially, activities that were shocking and almost unheard of during the Victorian era. This change in their cultural status was reflected in women’s changing sexual status. Sexual independence became one of the most revolutionary aspects of the New Woman. American women during the Jazz Age generally became more sexually assertive and viewed sex as less tied to marriage and motherhood than did their Victorian counterparts, who believed that respectable women had sex only for the purpose of conception within marriage.  The New Woman reflected the growing belief that all women had a

right to sexual pleasure and satisfaction. Young women began demanding equal opportunity for physical pleasure and the freedom to choose their mates. The decade saw increases in the rates of premarital sex, adultery, and divorce—the latter rising annually from five per 1,000 married women in 1920 to about seven per 1,000 in 1930. This increase can be attributed to a change in marital expectations. By the late 1800s, sensitivity and romantic love had begun to replace emotional control and practical matches as the marriage ideal. Psychology in general, and the theories of Austrian psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud in particular, became highly popular in the 1920s. Freud’s theories seemed to show that sexual repression was emotionally dangerous for both sexes, and many people viewed this as a license for letting down their inhibitions and indulging in sexual activity. Thus, the New Woman was, in part, a reflection of the decade’s changing views of female sexuality. These views were perpetuated by psychologists and authors who advocated that women should enjoy sex and sought to educate women on sexuality and the female body. [Source – Ibid.]

[125] Paula S, Fass. The Damned & the Beautiful: American Youth in the 1920s (New York: Oxford University Press, 1977).

[126] Joshua, Zeitz. Flapper: A Madcap Story of Sex, Style, Celebrity & the Women Who Made America Modern (United States: Crown Publishers, 2006).

[127] A flapper who is only seen at night, at parties and other social occasions.

[128] A man who offers a younger woman gifts in exchange for sex.

[129] A man who spends times in clubs in hopes of finding a female sexual partner.

[130] Paula S, Fass. The Damned & the Beautiful: American Youth in the 1920s (New York: Oxford University Press, 1977).

[131] A central component of the new dating system came to be known as “treating,” whereby men paid cash for dinners, theatre tickets, and amusement park admissions and women carefully estimated how much physical and romantic attention they needed to provide in turn. This was an entirely new dynamic. In the old days, courting took place at home. There simply wasn’t anywhere else to go. In effect, the Victorian system of romance, centred as it was around the front parlour or porch, put women in the driver’s seat: They did the inviting, they set the hour and day of the visit, and they called the limits. Dating was something completely different. It revolved around a new public leisure culture that cost money; it therefore placed men, who had more money, in greater control. The result was a complex interplay among commerce, sexuality, and love. Sometimes the dating system could be purely mercenary. “Most of the girls quite frankly admit making ‘dates’ with strange men,” a Consumer’s League report found in the early 1910s. “These ‘dates’ are made with no thought on the part of the girl beyond getting a good time which she cannot afford herself.” Many men resented this commercialization of romance, as was fully evident in a 1919 article that appeared in the Chicago Tribune under the headline MAN GETTING $18 A WEEK DARES NOT FALL IN LOVE. The young man in question was a returning World War I veteran whose meagre wages “could not even buy a young lady an ice cream cone,” let alone an expensive night out on the town. The trade-off was even worse for women. Implicit in the exchange was a sexual return, and this took some getting used to. Yet, it was a new age, and for millions of young women it offered not only new challenges, but also an unprecedented scale of freedom for personal exploration and self – fulfilment. [Source – Joshua, Zeitz. Flapper: A Madcap Story of Sex, Style, Celebrity & the Women Who Made America Modern (United States: Crown Publishers, 2006).]

[132] Sex for middle-class youths of the 1920’s had become a significant premarital experience, but it continued to be distinctly marriage-oriented and confined by stringent etiquettes and sharply etched definitions. The norms established by college youths had a dual purpose. They provided room for the exploration of immediate sexual interests, and they facilitated mate selection for future marriage. The result was a sexual revolution: not, however, as often implied, a revolution erupting in a sudden and drastic increase in sexual intercourse among the unmarried young, but a revolution growing out of new patterns of sexual play. The young evolved a code of sexual behaviour that was, in effect, a middle ground between the no-sex-at-all taboo officially prescribed by the adult world and inculcated by their families, and their own burgeoning sexual interests and marital aspirations. To this dual purpose, youths elaborated two basic rituals of sexual interaction — dating and petting. These behaviour patterns accompanied and emphasized several important value changes: more tolerance for non-normative sexual behaviour, the recognition and approval of female sexuality, and a positive evaluation of emotional response and expression in relations between men and women. This nexus of behaviour and value was the heart of the sexual revolution of the 1920’s. [Source – Paula S, Fass. The Damned & the Beautiful: American Youth in the 1920s (New York: Oxford University Press, 1977).] By channelling their sexual activity toward marriage, young men and women were able to push at the edges of existing social boundaries without completely dismantling the Victorian social-sexual system. Young men and women who experimented with premarital sex faced intense public pressure to legitimize their actions through marriage, and conflicting views about sex, even within marriage, remained prevalent during the 1920s. In the end, however, new courtship rituals, dating practices, and sexual expressiveness changed how most Americans viewed marriage during the Jazz Age. A new notion of companionate marriage emerged in which an ideal marriage was thought to consist of mutual devotion, sexual attraction, and respect for spousal equality. [Source – James, Ciment (ed.). Encyclopedia of the Jazz Age: From the End of World War I to the Great Crash (New York: Sharpe Reference, 2013).]

[133] Ibid.

[134] The most striking aspect of this revolution was the redefinition of morality in women. Morality, or moral integrity as the young woman put it, had been reduced to pretty much one factor, chastity. There was also implicit opening-up of possibilities, emotional and physical, a freeing from the restraints of traditional inhibitions on propriety, and a corollary emphasis on the naturalness of all these things. So too, there was the belief in female equality, comradeship, mutuality in interest and pleasure, and the very real sense of security based on facts and the knowledge of those facts. Finally, there was

what might be best described as the emphasis on taste, on personal style in matters of behaviour, which in some ways reflected what being young was all about in the twenties. The young woman had recognized in a clear-eyed fashion the effect that accumulated changes, denied by few, were having on a woman’s self-definition. In the twenties a young woman was freer to engage in a variety of physical and mental experiences than ever before because the group that needed to approve of her behaviour was not the tradition-oriented adult world of family and community but the experimental peer group. There was, of course, originally some compulsion to engage in these behaviours by the peer group itself, but once they were established as viable behaviour patterns, that compulsion could give way to more freedom. The quantity of what was given in her life was more restricted, and the number of things that a woman could now choose in creating her life’s roles had grown enormously. . [Source – Paula S, Fass. The Damned & the Beautiful: American Youth in the 1920s (New York: Oxford University Press, 1977).]

[135] In the areas of sexuality, tradition and conformity the standards of the young deviated from conventional canons of propriety to stress on the presumed radicalism of the new generation.  That deviation was sanctioned by group approval and as such functioned to unite age peers and served as a mild form of generational differentiation. The young knew that their patterns and attitudes provided a margin of difference between them and their elders, and this gave them a vehicle for group cohesion. It is not insignificant that many of these conventions were sex-linked, for sex is probably the most self-conscious form of adolescent expression and, as Erik Erikson reminds, the most powerful source for adolescent ego development. In the twenties, personal ego-needs took on group proportions, and thus sexuality became a fertile arena for group direction and identification. The ego-needs of the individual adolescent may be more or less constant. What changed in the twenties was the availability of group support for experimentation and expression. It was this sudden group interest in and consciousness of sexual subjects that seemed so threatening to contemporaries. Contemporaries rightfully linked the young to sex. Sexuality and sex-linked behaviour came readily to adolescent groups because they were pressing personal concerns in an altered social environment. They called for new rules, new conventions, and new techniques. They were also a particularly

cogent form of generational identification in a culture barely teetering off the edge of Victorian prudery. The college youth of the twenties were not a generation that deliberately denied the moral or intellectual competence of its elders. They were “naughty,” not angry. They knew that they lived in a changing world that demanded new understanding, new conventions, and constant readjustments. And they conceived of their behaviour and attitudes as positively responsive to these conditions. They welcomed the lingering naughtiness of which they were accused, but more in the spirit of play than with any serious display of anger. As eager capitalists, the young were anything but rebellious in social and political questions. They emphasized style in personal matters and severely demarcated the personal from the social sphere. In so doing they were in the advance guard of twentieth-century American culture. Their behaviour signalled the growing divergence between permissible expression in the personal and cultural sphere and necessary conformity in the political and social arena, and they accelerated the process in their conduct and beliefs. This does not mean that they did not enforce conformity among themselves. They did and with vigour, because it served the peer group and its needs. But by enforcing a deviant standard, they helped to transform uniform norms into pluralistic styles and made preference and change, not tradition and morality, the guide to private behaviour. [Source – Paula S, Fass. The Damned & the Beautiful: American Youth in the 1920s (New York: Oxford University Press, 1977).]

[136] Peer influence had grown in the interstices between older institutions and in response to new industrial and social conditions. And by the 1920’s, the network of peer relations on the college campus had become a youth society. Ideas were suddenly picked up and as suddenly dropped. Rapid adjustment became fundamental because the group needed constantly to employ new techniques for demonstrated loyalty and to define competition. Thus, easy adaptability became an accompaniment of conformity and a means of success, and the need for continuous conformity reinforced the sense of constant change. For instance, the young, reared in a moral standard in which all sex was taboo, redefined that standard according to their own needs and laid the basis for a change in the standard itself. On the coeducational campuses of the 1920’s (matrimonial bureaus, they were sometimes called), sex was a perpetual peer concern. The rating system by which social connections were made and by which eligibility was established and maintained worked within a tight system of gossip, reference, bull-session discussions, and careful conformity to standards. Not surprisingly, the new attention to sexuality coloured a whole range of related behaviour. The college campus, especially, provided a fertile social environment for the new mores concerning the relationships between men and women Language became more candid and conversations more frank as the fact of freer association between the sexes was accompanied by a basic commitment to freedom of expression. As women became companions to men in work and play, it was easier to see them as “pals” and partners, and the informal access between the sexes radically affected ideas of de facto equality and the manners that reflected that equality. At the same time, this access encouraged a pronounced attention to sexual attractiveness and to the cultivation of styles that operated on a purely sexual level. Another instance was the peer legitimization of consumerism. In placing emphasis on the externals of appearance and the accessories of sociability and in demanding constant and careful conformity to all its subtleties, the peer society promoted and enforced an ethos of consumerism. Clothes helped to identify an individual with peers locally and nationally. “Style” in dress separated students from ordinary mortals and gave the college man or woman a distinctive air and the group identity that enhanced a sense of personal security. All could be worn safely, indeed proudly, and an individual could defy adult derision because the fad identified one with the group which provided support in opposition. The young were quickly adapting to an ethos of consumerism in interests as well as clothes. [Source – Ibid.]

[137] Psychoanalytic theories enabled rebellious intellectuals to turn against traditional values, rejecting the heritage of Puritanism and the values associated with Victorian culture; at the same time these theories filled the gap left by the repudiation of traditional social and religious doctrines in the scientific age. To many, it seemed, psychoanalysis had replaced religion as Freud presented Americans with a ‘sustained plea for a heroic and defiant atheism’ through which the tension between the past and the future could be expressed and resolved. Freud’s publications over the 1920s only confirmed this view more fully. Yet while Freud revealed the illusion, he also demonstrated how it had been essential in the development and survival of civilisation thus far – without religion, this implied, civilisation would struggle to function. The growth and popularisation of scientific thought, instrumentalism, pragmatism and materialism all appeared on the surface to divide American society between Christians and those who believed in something else. Relativism and pluralism appeared to divest American culture of a moral framework on which social stability could be formed. Despite this, aspects of religious thinking were infused by new ideas and results of investigation both of human needs and the Christian religion’. To some, however, it was this theological liberalism that threatened American culture most of all. In response to the growing secularisation of society and growing liberalism of religious belief, fundamentalism expanded in diverse and unprecedented ways. Theologians met and organised opposition to modernists and the demise of civilisation, coining the term ‘fundamentalist’ in 1920 for someone who went into battle for ‘the fundamentals’ of Protestant belief and interpreted the Bible literally. Organising a growing network of associations and Bible institutes, fundamentalists emphasised the literal truth of the Bible and the Gospels and challenged scientific ideas that threatened this. The popular radio preacher Harry Emerson Fosdick called for reconciliation between modernisers and fundamentalists in his 1922 sermon ‘Shall the Fundamentalists Win?’ However, the anti- evolutionary movement within fundamentalism had become a ‘national fad’ by 1925, epitomised in the trial of John Scopes for teaching evolution at a school in Dayton, Tennessee. Anti-science religious fundamentalism appeared to hamper both progress and freedom of thought and expression. Modern mass culture came under regular assault in the sermons of traditionalists, who blamed immoral behaviour on developments in mass technology, especially cars, cinema and radio. However, like the KKK, fundamentalists also used and benefited from these new technologies with productions of their own. Pentecostal preacher Aimee Semple McPherson became the first female radio evangelist in 1922, acquiring her own radio station a year later to promote her unique brand of Christian fundamentalism. A conservative in faith and a moderniser in behaviour, McPherson neatly embodied the paradox of 1920s fundamentalism. The modernisation of religion was no more visible than in the developing relationship between Church and business over the decade, symbolised in the appearance of the new journal Church Management in 1923. Arguing for more business efficiency in church affairs and explaining how to run a church like a business, the role of the businessman became increasingly central to a successful religion. The rise of business culture did not necessarily trammel traditional moral ethics, for Shailer Matthews ‘business does more than make money – it makes morals’. [Source – Susan, Currell. American Culture in the 1920s (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2009).]

[138] Excerpt from a short piece of whimsical writing that was published in the Daily Democrat-Tribune on April 22, 1922; concerning the conference of the American Oriental Society that claimed that Flapperdom of the 1920s had its origin 4,000 years ago in the soils of ancient Babylonia and Egypt. [Source – Kelly Boyer, Sagert. Flappers: A Guide to an American Subculture. (California: Greenwood Press, 2010).]

[139] An over – dressed and high – style acting Flapper.

[140] Excerpt from “Death Blow to the Flapper” by Hedda Hoyt in the Daily Democrat – Tribune on July 20, 1922. [Source – Kelly Boyer, Sagert. Flappers: A Guide to an American Subculture. (California: Greenwood Press, 2010).]

[141] Joshua, Zeitz. Flapper: A Madcap Story of Sex, Style, Celebrity & the Women Who Made America Modern (United States: Crown Publishers, 2006).

[142] The Flapper didn’t stand for moral decadence here. Rather, she represented the commencement of a journey of ‘equal’ gendered rights that were the outcome of the Suffragette Movement of the 1920s. But this equality had been a mere illusion, added by financial prosperity and a ‘flexible’ receptive environment – an equality that had been a lie. The Flapper’s earth was this lie and built on a lie, it is scarcely a surprise that she didn’t survive the Crash of the 1930s.

[143] Ibid.

[144] Paula S, Fass. The Damned & the Beautiful: American Youth in the 1920s (New York: Oxford University Press, 1977).

[145] Whereas first-wave feminism focused mainly on suffrage and overturning legal obstacles to gender equality (e.g..voting rights, property rights), second-wave feminism broadened the debate to a wide range of issues: sexuality, family, the workplace, reproductive rights, de facto inequalities, and official legal inequalities. Second-wave feminism also drew attention to domestic violence and marital rape issues, establishment of rape crisis and battered women’s shelters, and changes in custody and divorce law. The second wave of feminism in North America came as a delayed reaction against the renewed domesticity of women after World War II: the late 1940s post-war boom, which was an era characterized by an unprecedented economic growth, a baby boom, a move to family-oriented suburbs, and the ideal of companionate marriages. The Flapper of the 1920s was the unofficial heraldry of this more ‘aggressive’ form of Feminism. [Source – “Second – wave Feminism”. Wikipedia. Wikipedia Foundation Inc., 8 April 2016. Web. 13 April 2016. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second-wave_feminism&gt;.]

[146] Paula S, Fass. The Damned & the Beautiful: American Youth in the 1920s (New York: Oxford University Press, 1977).

[147] Ibid.

[148] While the variety of religious experiments in the 1920s appeared to have shattered a unitary experience of faith, and business involvement in the Church further elided the secular with the religious, American society was less in the process of destroying God than diversifying a variety of faiths into an expanding number of areas. Religious revivals took on a variety of shapes and forms outside of the traditional perspective of Protestantism and at times provided a platform for new forms of liberation and expression. The ‘modernisation’ of spiritual faith worked in more radical ways for sections of believers and, indeed, served to revitalise spirituality for many African Americans during the period. The emergence of religious groups and cults preaching equality, self-improvement and economic independence contained both elements of a radical modernity and a rejection of past oppressions, alongside religious fundamentalism and patriarchal politics. The rising presence of African Americans in northern cities provided the impetus for a variety of new movements; these movements, which later became connected to the civil rights and freedom movements, provided African Americans with a faith-based rhetoric of empowerment as well as offering institutional support networks for activities that were not formally sponsored by the State such as relief, charity and cultural activities. For many African Americans, embracing a new spiritual modernity became symbolic of the rejection of ‘old’ America, with its slavery and economic oppression that connected to the fundamentalist

Christian South. To some white observers, this rise of Black Nationalism and ‘pan- Africanism’ was part of a dangerous uprising of ‘coloured’ people around the world. Behind the fears of ‘cultural lag’ and individual inability to keep up with the times were perceptions that the white race and Western civilisation were in decline – a theory promulgated by the popular reception of Oswald Spengler’s The Decline of the West. In his organic conception of civilisation first published in Germany in 1918, Spengler wrote that Western civilisation was in its ‘winter’ phase and thereby racing towards its inexorable end. To many, the decline was specifically connected to modern patterns of culture and reproduction and Spengler’s idea merely confirmed the well-established theories of ‘race suicide’ promoted by eugenicists over the previous two decades. Though inspiring fears of ‘coloured’ races in the white populace, Stoddard’s work indicated to racial minorities that their new world

was indeed coming. To African American activists in the 1920s the promise of a new civilisation in which they would play a vital role presented both a challenge and an opportunity. While black rejection of white domination and demands for equal status and recognition had been growing over the past twenty years, the 1920s saw a fruition of black pride and activism in cultural and intellectual life, as well as in the social sphere. In contrast to both African nationalists and white supremacists, a cultural movement supported by Du Bois and a number of African American artists arose to proclaim that there was a ‘New Negro’ who would play a key role in the revitalisation of both black and white American culture. Black intellectuals and artists consciously ignited a new cultural movement that reflected this growing self-consciousness. Unlike white despair over the decline of civilisation, the movement exhibited a willing rejection of the past and a celebration of social and cultural change as progress. This celebratory modernism was reflected in the name given to the movement: the Harlem Renaissance. [Source – Susan, Currell. American Culture in the 1920s (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2009).]

[149] Jazz was the product of the Black yet the White put a racial tag to it – centralising and standardizing it for an industry that yielded to the entertainment requirements of the White community, necessarily the White ‘wealthy’ affluence. [Source – Cohen, Henning. The American Culture. The U.S: – Houghton Mifflin, 1968. Print.]



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