1)The 1920s brought many changes in dress and social behavior,
influenced by popular movie actresses and “independent” working women.
The “TRADITIONAL” WOMAN
2)The traditional “Victorian” woman (British Queen Victoria reigned through much of the 1800s) wore long dresses. Women dressed in layers, including corsets.
(To provide a thin waist and “shape”) The body was covered up.
Women wore long hair and hats on their heads when out in public.
3)Labor leader Samuel Gompers, at the first Miss America Beauty Pageant
remarked, “The type of womanhood America needs – strong, red-blooded,
able to shoulder the responsibilities of home-making and motherhood.
Why do you think a labor leader would be telling women to “stay in the home.”???
The “NEW” WOMAN
4)The “new”, 1920s women were called “flappers”.
5)They enjoyed defying traditional standards of “womanly” behavior,
including wearing short dresses. Utah tried to pass a law punishing women
for wearing dresses three inches above the ankle.
6)Women showed more skin. Virginia tried to pass a law saying no more than
three inches of throat could be shown by a woman in public.
7)Short “bobbed” hair was popular. Woman wore make-up. They drove cars. They played sports. They smoked cigarettes in public.
8)Women sought freedom, in part through economic independence.
1920s “SEX SYMBOLS”
9)Clara Bow was called the “It” Girl. She had “It”. She knew how to use “It”.
10)Clara Bow often played the stereotypical “bad” girl.
11)In the movie “It”, Bow played a shop girl who “sets her sights” on the Shop owner.
(In what ways does her character break-reinforce traditional female roles?)
12)With nothing “special” to wear on their big date, she took scissors to her long dress and makes her own “evening” dress. She gets the guy.
13)Off screen, Bow was “linked” with everyone from actor Gary Cooper to the USC Football team.
14)When “talking” movies came out, they revealed she had a strong Brooklyn accent.
Her “sex symbol” career ended soon after.
15)Mary Pickford was described as “America’s Sweetheart”.
16)In 1920, 35 million people attended movies per week. Pickford made
$1 million in 1920, ten times more than the President.
17)In her movies, Pickford’s characters were resourceful and independent.
She “tackled” problems in her movies. She was smart and sexy.
18)Pickford married “superstar” actor Douglas Fairbanks.
They were Hollywood’s first celebrity “glamour” couple.
19)Pickford and Fairbanks lived a “dream” life in a mansion called Pickfair.
The 1920s “Modern” Woman – CONCLUSIONS
20)Writer Theodore Dreiser embraced the abandonment of the “ideal”,
traditional, “Victorian” woman. He described them as, “… that angelic being
free from the taint of sexual desire.”
21)Dreiser complained of the Victorian, “Women are now so good, the sex relationshipso vile a thing, that to think of two at once (women and sex) is not to be thought of.
ARE WE AMERICANS TOO “UPTIGHT” ABOUT SEX???
22)Newspaper Columnist Emily Post warned girls against the “temptations”
of the 1920s “Jazz Age”. (the word “jazz” was also “slang” for sex)
23)Post warned of the “continuous pursuit of and thrill and excitement that
produce the same effect which a drug produces in an addict”.
24)Post went on to state, “… promiscuous ‘petting’ and ‘cuddling’ have the same cheapening effect as that produced on merchandise … constantly smudged and frayed, thrown out on the bargain counter in a marked-down lot.”
25)WRITE a 50 WORD RESPONSE to ANY of the FOLLOWING:
Did the “MODERN” WOMAN “CHEAPEN” or DEMEAN HERSELF by
REJECTING TRADITIONAL VALUES?
WAS SHE “LIBERATING” HERSELF from an OPPRESSIVE,
HYPOCRITICAL, MALE-DOMINATED SOCIETY???
Is there a “HAPPY MEDIUM” between “PRUDISH” and “PROMISCUOUS”?
Was the development of the “MODERN” WOMAN a GOOD or BAD THING?