Women in the 1920s
"Are we as bad as we're painted? We are. We do all the things that our mothers, fathers, aunts and uncles do not sanction, and we do them knowingly. We are not young innocents--we've got the dope at our finger ends and we use it wisely for our own protection." -A young woman from The Ohio State University
The women of the early 20th century were modest and conserved...
And then the 20s hit.
Female sexuality was once "superstitious, unscientific, and unhealthful" as Sigmund Freud put it, but during the twenties, the definition of female sexuality changed. The 1920s allowed for female sexuality to soar in fashion, expression, and everyday life.
Women gained greater roles in society. They were no longer just meek, weak, housewives. They could work, vote, and attend college with men.
"She doesn't drink,
she doesn't pet,
she hasn't been
To college yet." -Tennessee Mugwump
Newly exposed female sexuality along with co-ed colleges and workplaces changed courtship patterns and the traditional goal of marriage. With a new found respect for a woman and all that they offered, men began to seek women with the idea of romantic love and companionship as a central goal. However, while women changed their relationships with men, they were still considered lesser than men.
Women were making leaps, but every leap was met with limitation.
Women continued to emphasize their beauty and sexuality. A form of this emphasis occurred in the beauty pageants. The first Miss America pageant was held in 1921.
Because they could do more now than they could in the past, women began participating in sports more frequently. However, female athletes began to be viewed as too manly, and many women feared being viewed as masculine. In turn, this fear limited female participation in sports.
Despite societal attempts to suppress this new progression in women's role, women continued to do as they pleased.
Thanks, Flapper Fanny.
Makeup is for harlots, right? Wrong! Every respectable woman wore makeup.
And blame the 1920s for shaving, ladies.
The facial expression of this flapper matched mine when I saw the shaving ads, but I'm sure this flapper dance would not have been the same with hairy legs.
Better yet, imagine this woman with hairy arm pits.
This woman had the nerve to put her foot on this man's car!