The 1920’s is sometimes referred to as the “Roaring Twenties,” or “The Era of Wonderful Nonsense.” The nonsense this phrase is referring to is the style and boldness of the new kind of rebel: the flapper. In the 1920’s the flappers shocked everyone and set the path for other people who yearned to stand out and be different. The flappers certainly contrasted the generation before them, but that did not happen overnight.
There are many reasons credited as to why flappers started rebelling, but one of the major ones was WWI. The women decided that most of the eligible bachelors were dead or at war, meaning that there were not enough men to go around. When those men had gone off to war, they left their jobs, meaning that someone had to work in their place. Many women were hired, and these women earned wages and could live independently and buy things themselves for the first time. Before then, women were expected to stay at home and care for the house and kids. But because women could work now things were easily obtainable such as cars such as the Ford Model T. Even though some women had to go to work, they still had more free time than previous generations because of new inventions such as vacuum cleaners and refrigerators that made housework easier. With all of this time, Fashion, Costume, and Culture: Clothing, Headwear, Body Decorations, and Footwear through the Ages states: “young women were no longer content . . . styling long masses of hair” (1). The older women still had long hair, thought that women should only work from the home, and others. The flappers and the older generation had many more clashing ideas.
Many things made the older generation disapprove of flappers, especially the notorious parties held in clubs referred to as speakeasies. Women smoked cigarettes, danced the Charleston to jazz music, and drank even though it was illegal at the time. The flappers desired doing unacceptable things, considering the fact that “flappers began drinking cocktails right when it was . . . illegal, nationwide, to manufacture, sell, or transport any alcoholic drink” (Sagert 43). Some of these things were so improper that women were arrested for smoking in public even though smoking was not illegal. Flappers took every chance they could to make things scandalous.
The style of flappers was one of the most controversial things about them. Before the Roaring Twenties, dresses that went above the middle of the calf muscle were unheard of, let alone just-below or just-above the knee. These new dress lengths horrified older generations. Along with the dress, she would wear a “step-in, a single piece of lingerie that took the place of the stiff-boned corset” (Gourley 62). Because of...