Wednesday, May 02, 2012
Flappers And Fitzgerald
A new breed of woman appeared on the world scene in the years after World War I.
After the war, Amercan social liberalism filled a void left in post war culture and behavior.
The new breed of women wore short skirts, cut their hair short, drank, smoked, drove cars, and viewed sex as a recreational pursuit.
They listened to jazz and rebelled against the established behavioral norms of their elders. American jazz epitomized this new culture and it quickly spread to Europe. The word "jazz" was used to describe more than music; it meant anything exciting or fun. The women were called "flappers." Flapper was a slang word whose definition could mean a young prostitute or a lively teenage girl. It came to be accepted for an immature girl, scantilly clad, and frivolous.
The American flapper population and its rebelliousness was fueled in part by Prohibition. Back alley speakeasies were popular and the public flaunted Prohibition; they ignored the law by their open consumption of alcohol and living the social life of the speakeasies.
F. Scott Fitzgerald helped to glorify the flapper lifestyle and made flappers appear to be attractive, rebellious, and independent. His wife Zelda was a prototypical flapper. In '20s Jazz Age Paris, they immersed themselves in the lifestyle.
Flapper fashion was mostly a result of French fashion, especially that of Coco Chanel. In French, a flapper was called a garconne ("boy" with the feminine suffix). Girls looked young and boyish: short hair, flattened breasts, and straight waists. Women wanted to look fit, sporty and healthy.
This was the world of Hemingway's Paris, and his "Lost Generation" compatriots.
Photos six and seven are of Zelda Fitzgerald.