- The puritan, ‘polite’ society of the Victorians was rapidly disappearing. The days where human sexuality was private and only allowed within marriage was changing, the staunchly protestant views held in the USA were not really going away, but less and less people in the younger generations were adhering to them.
- The war had a massive impact on society of the time – double standards for men and women were beginning to become noticed, and of course the women won the vote in 1918.
- The double standards = men going off to war and engaging in sexual relationships while the women stayed home – women were gaining more independence and started to embrace their sexuality.
- The rise of birth control had a profound effect on society, allowing women to engage in sexual relationships without being a) married, or b) getting pregnant.
- Film and cinema began to show racy and risqué films, people wanted to see them, they were obsessed! The fear of the time of course though, and directly in keeping with the gap between generations and different beliefs were that these films would be promoting young sexual activity.
- And of course, the Victorian ideals that were only so newly disappearing were not in-keeping with this embrace and show of sexuality.
- The ideals = (women are) ‘keepers of morality, responsible for keeping themselves and men in check’. This makes my blood boil – like, what, NO! we are not your mothers!
- FLAPPERS – ‘pleasure for pleasure’s sake’
‘Flappers of the 1920s were young women known for their energetic freedom, embracing a lifestyle viewed by many at the time as outrageous, immoral or downright dangerous. Now considered the first generation of independent American women, flappers pushed barriers in economic, political and sexual freedom for women.’
- criticism against flappers included Utah passing a legislation on the length of a women’s dress, and many clergymen such as Rabbi Stephen S. Wise and Baptist pastor Dr. John Roach Straton became famous for their constant stand against this new type of liberated fashion.
- The fall of this liberated woman and hedonism of the 20s came at the start of the new decade, with the crash of the stock market and the great depression having an economic impact. This was not a lifestyle many could afford, and so the frugal and economic realities began to dictate again.