What did the flapper girl represent? – 20S Flapper Dress Costume
A new wave of women embracing the power of makeup and hair accessories? Women who wanted change, who wanted a chance for their futures to be defined, and for the power of fashion to be their destiny? Well, we all know what she represented. That’s why I think the flapper girl’s story is the most compelling of them all. In the 1930s and 1940s, women with hair extensions weren’t simply making the move out into the mainstream, but they were beginning to set the pace for their class and gender and their careers and lifestyles in a way that was never even attempted before. With the flapper girl, the possibilities were limitless.
As far as the movement itself goes, there are multiple interpretations. The Flappers themselves seem to have had more of a role in the creation of the movement than we might have thought. In many ways, the flapper girl movement was really about rebellion against the social and cultural status quo of the time. And this rebellion was expressed most famously and powerfully through the use of hair extensions and hair styles. It’s not necessarily that women liked the extensions or that women felt the extensions symbolized femininity (if you took that route, you’d have to think that women simply weren’t allowed to wear extensions or hair accessories in such a way as to represent the kind of femininity that they wanted to embody). I’m thinking more of their use rather than their intended meaning. The flapper girl’s desire to embrace the power of fashion and to express sexuality as a part of that power was what made her, in many ways, one of the most compelling leaders of the movement and one that has shaped the culture of women’s fashion and beauty into the modern century.
The Flapper Girl by Jodi Picoult, published by Alfred A. Knopf, (public library), $28.99.
I think of the flapper girl’s desire to have her body changed and her gender transformed through a style of style as a manifestation of her revolt against the mainstream and for self-expression. The style was part of the revolt because it demanded that women wear it on their heads. It forced them to express themselves through different forms of styling and makeup. It demanded an entirely different lifestyle. It was rebellion. And it was very powerful.
That revolt against the mainstream was manifested most notably through extensions and hair extensions. The flapper girl could no longer hide from the outside with her dress or hair accessories. She needed to wear them to get herself noticed. And women were
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