1920’s Flappers, Gorgeous, Provocative, Pre-Modern Session Girls

femcompetitor.com, grapplingstars.com fciwomenswrestling.com Inara-Prusakova-Shutterstock-photo-credit-Editorial-use

November 28, 2021,

Rejection of traditional feminine norms and a willingness to create their own brand counter to what society expected of good girls was the calling card of the 1920’s Flapper.

As far as calling cards go, theirs was sensuous and sensational.

Some would say they are the pre-runners to the modern day Session Girl.

Flappers were a generation of young Western women in the 1920s who wore short skirts just at the knee, which was very short for that time period.

femcompetitor.com, grapplingstars.com fciwomenswrestling.com Flapper-Gorbash-Varvara-Shutterstock-photo-credit-Editorial-use-

We’re really interested already.

We’ve seen them on television, in black and white, now we desire a little more color.

What else was a part of their innovative and sexy brand?

They also bobbed their hair, listened to jazz, and flaunted their disdain for what was then considered acceptable behavior.

Flappers were seen as brash for wearing excessive makeup, drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes in public, driving automobiles, treating sex in a casual manner, and otherwise flouting social and sexual norms.

Hmm, sounds like a lot beautiful girls we know today. They were clearly ahead of their time.

Flappers are icons of the Roaring Twenties, the social, political turbulence and increased transatlantic cultural exchange that followed the end of World War I, as well as the export of American jazz culture to Europe.

The senior class of their time period didn’t exactly see them as iconic.

There was a reaction to this counter culture, mostly by older, more conservative people who belonged in different generations. They claimed that the flappers’ dresses were ‘near nakedness’, ‘flippant’, ‘reckless’, and unintelligent.

We weren’t there but from what we’ve read and seen on film, we especially disagree with the last assessment.

These girls were very bright. Shining stars.

femcompetitor.com, grapplingstars.com fciwomenswrestling.com Bain-News-Service-wikipedia-photo-credit

What created this unique culture of women, never seen before and never to be seen again, at least not in this form?

One cause of the change in young women’s behavior was World War I which ended in November 1918.

The death of large numbers of young men in the war, and the Spanish flu epidemic which struck in 1918 killing between 20–40 million people, inspired in young people a feeling that life is short and could end at any moment.

Pandemic blues.

Hmm, in 2021, doesn’t that sound very familiar?

Therefore, young women wanted to spend their youth enjoying their life and freedom rather than just staying at home and waiting for a man to marry them.

Are we in 1920 or 2020?

Prince charming was probably killed in the war.

Mind blowing. How incredibly similar this culture is to our time period.

There are some major differences today with the increasing number of girls getting their college education, outnumbering the boys in college and eventually earning more money.

They seem to be making similar decisions as their 1920’s sisters, only for different reasons.

Political changes were another cause of the flapper culture.

World War I reduced the grip of the class system on both sides of the Atlantic, encouraging different classes to mingle and share their sense of freedom.

Women finally won the right to vote in the United States on August 26, 1920.

Women’s suffrage in the United States of America, the legal right of women to vote, was established over the course of more than half a century, first in various states and localities, sometimes on a limited basis, and then nationally in 1920.

The demand for women’s suffrage began to gather strength in the 1840s, emerging from the broader movement for women’s rights.

In 1848, the Seneca Falls Convention, the first women’s rights convention, passed a resolution in favor of women’s suffrage despite opposition from some of its organizers, who believed the idea was too extreme.

Doesn’t that sound similar to today’s politics? An idea that was once considered extreme eventually becomes the norm.

By the time of the first National Women’s Rights Convention in 1850, however, suffrage was becoming an increasingly important aspect of the movement’s activities.

Women wanted to be men’s social equals and were faced with the difficult realization of the larger goals of feminism: individuality, full political participation, economic independence, and ‘sex rights’.

They wanted to be treated like men and go smoking and drinking.

In addition, many women had more opportunities in the workplace and had even taken traditionally male jobs such as doctors, lawyers, engineers and pilots.

The rise of consumerism also promoted the ideals of “fulfilment and freedom”, which encouraged women to think independently about their garments, careers, social activities.

Like today’s Social Media Influencers, Flappers loved to shop, dress cool and inspire sex appeal.

Western Societies quickly changed after World War I.

For example, customs, technology, and manufacturing all moved quickly into the 20th century after the interruption of the war.

The rise of the automobile was an important factor in flapper culture, as cars meant a woman could come and go as she pleased, travel to speakeasies and other entertainment venues, and use the large vehicles of the day for their popular activity, petting parties.

Okay, it is the 1920s so definition time.

A speakeasy, also called a blind pig or blind tiger, was an illicit establishment that sells alcoholic beverages. Such establishments came into prominence in the United States during the Prohibition era (1920–1933, longer in some states). During that time, the sale, manufacture, and transportation (bootlegging) of alcoholic beverages was illegal throughout the United States.

Speakeasies largely disappeared after Prohibition ended in 1933, and the term is now often used to describe retro style bars.

As far as petting parties, we sense they weren’t talking about just any animal that desired to be petted. Most likely male dogs and female kitties.

The sense of ‘petting’ meaning “to stroke” is first found around 1818. Slang sense of “kiss and caress” is from 1920 time period which implied petting.

Today we would call it making out.

Or an erotic Session.

Remember those fogged up car windows in the 1960s and 70s?

Another Flapper culture influencer was the economic boom which allowed more people the time and money to play golf and tennis and to take vacations, which required clothing adapted to these activities; the flapper’s slender silhouette was very suitable for movement.

Now we turn to film because that is after all where most of us had our first contact with those gorgeous Flappers.

The first appearance of the flapper style in the United States came from the popular 1920 Frances Marion film, The Flapper, starring Olive Thomas.

femcompetitor.com, grapplingstars.com fciwomenswrestling.com DeGaston-photographer-Library-of-Congress-wikipedia-photo-credit.

Ms. Thomas starred in a similar role in 1917, though it was not until The Flapper that the term was used.

In her final movies, she was seen as the flapper image.

Other actresses, such as Clara Bow, Louise Brooks, Colleen Moore and Joan Crawford would soon build their careers on the same image, achieving great popularity.

In the literary world, writers in the United States such as F. Scott Fitzgerald and Anita Loos and illustrators such as Russell Patterson, John Held, Jr., Ethel Hays and Faith Burrows popularized the flapper look and lifestyle through their works, and flappers came to be seen as attractive, reckless, and independent.

In 1922, a small-circulation magazine titled The Flapper, located in Chicago, celebrated the flapper’s appeal.

On the opening page of its first issue, it proudly declared flappers’ break with traditional values. Also, flappers defended them by contrasting themselves with earlier generations of women whom they called “clinging vines”.

The Flapper certainly wasn’t a clinging vine.

They loved to shop.

The Gibson Girl was one of the origins of the flapper.

femcompetitor.com, grapplingstars.com fciwomenswrestling.com Charles-Dana-Gibson-http-www.squidoo.com-the-gibson-girl-classic-american-beauty

Many ice cream sundaes were named after the Gibson Girl.

The invention of Charles Dana Gibson, the Gibson Girl changed the fashion, patterns, and lifestyles of the 1920s.

These female styles were much more progressive than the traditions of women’s styles in the past.

Before the Gibson Girl movement, women’s voices as a group were infrequently heard.

While some may see the Gibson Girl as just a fashion statement, it was much more broadly influential than that. “She depicted the modern woman, known popularly as the ‘new woman’, at a time when more women gained independence, began to work outside the home, and sought the right to vote and other rights.”

Flapper dresses were straight and loose, leaving the arms bare, sometimes with no straps at all, and dropping the waistline to the hips.

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 when a girl danced or walked through a breeze, although the way they danced made any long loose skirt flap up to show their legs.

To enhance the view, some flappers applied rouge to their knees. Very intriguing.

A Popular dress style included the Robe de style.

The robe de style describes a style of dress popular in the 1920s as an alternative to the straight-cut chemise dress.

The style was characterized by its full skirts. The bodice could be fitted, or straight-cut in the chemise manner, with a dropped waist, but it was the full skirt that denoted the robe de style.

Sometimes the fullness was supported with petticoats, panniers, or hoops.

The flapper lifestyle and look disappeared after the roaring ’20s era of glitz and glamour came to an end in America after the Wall Street Crash of 1929.

Unable to afford the latest trends and lifestyle, the once-vibrant flapper women returned to their dropped hemlines, and the flapper dress disappeared. A sudden serious tone washed over the public with the appearance of The Great Depression. The high-spirited attitude and hedonism were less acceptable during the economic hardships of the 1930s.

When hemlines began to rise again, numerous states took action, making laws that restricted women to wear skirts with hemlines no shorter than three inches above the ankle.

Don’t worry. The 1960s and the mini-skirt would save the super sexy girl day.

The term Flapper was born out of the idea of a young bird flapping while learning to fly.

You are only young once.

Whether it is 1920 or 2020.

In 100 years, the more things change, the more they stay the same. History does indeed repeat itself.

The Flappers did not follow the path safely and already worn but forged their own.

Good for them.

Great for us.

The flapper stands out as one of the most enduring images of youth and new women in the twentieth century, and is viewed by modern-day Americans as something of a cultural heroine.

They lived the life they really wanted to live when it mattered most.

When they were young and beautiful.

~ ~ ~

OPENING PHOTO femcompetitor.com, grapplingstars.com fciwomenswrestling.com Inara-Prusakova-Shutterstock-photo-credit-Editorial-use