Flapper Research Paper

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Ashley Jimenez English 3 – 31 Mr. Nesser 16 April 2015 Becoming the “It” Girl Along with the magnificence of the “Roaring Twenties,” the flappers became a modern lifestyle which permeated the lives of many young women in the booming economy. Flappers of the 20s had an unmistakable lifestyle and image. Women, mostly in the middle class, held “feminine” jobs, such as sales clerks and secretaries, during the day and a party-filled nightlife. Both older and conservative men and women often declared that this flapper lifestyle was the ultimate “women declaration of independence” at the time, a decree which upset their conservative values (Flappers). As women began to liberate themselves from the Victorian values of older women and conservatives,…show more content…
These women also showed strong carefree attitudes, especially towards alcohol and male counterparts, with most women deciding to drink and remain single. The flapper “look” was inspired by many cosmetics and defeminizing fashions, which were being advertised more openly as the decade progressed. Actresses and dancers, such as Clara Bow, “captured the flapper image for the nation to see (Flappers).” The flapper “look” often included a bob cut, makeup, and a loose dress which was usually knee-length, much shorter than the Victorian style long dresses used before World War I. Women of only a generation before valued hourglass figures, long, preferably curly, hair, and long, elegant gowns. In complete opposition, the flapper girls wanted to show feminism in another way and be free to express themselves through what they wore and how they cut their hair. Makeup also played a major role in the development of the flapper “look,” as many women could now carry makeup in small purses. Makeup was originally looked down upon as reserved for prostitutes and actresses, but after famous flappers made the look…show more content…
Although Clara reached great fame throughout the nation, her past life scarred her in a way that affected her ability to act. Clara’s past led her to grow into a “lonely, hypersensitive child, acutely self-conscious of a slight speech impediment” (Stenn). Clara Bow was born in a tenement in 1905 during a heat wave. Due to the sour relationships between her father and mother, her mother hoped she and Clara would die in the heat. Clara’s abusive father was often not home, and Clara’s mother was a prostitute for “visiting” firemen and uncles. Clara Bow faced the challenge of basic poverty, but after winning the “Fame and Fortune” beauty contest in 1921 sponsored by Motion Picture, Motion Picture Classic, and Shadowland Magazines, Clara was well on her way to becoming an actress (Cramer). Burdened with this past, Clara Bow was able to become one of the greatest silent movie actresses of the Twenties by channeling her pain into her on-film emotions. Frank Tuttle, director of Grit, became amazed at “Clara’s ability to express emotion without apparent concentration” (Cramer). Clara Bow was not only a phenomenal actress, but a growing fashion amongst women of the 1920s. Clara Bow’s fame led to her naming as the “It” girl of the decade, becoming Hollywood’s first sex symbol in history. Clara Bow’s “carefree, energetic, self-assured, and breezily independent” personality inspired many

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