Tuesday, April 19, 2011


In Flaming Youth, Walter Fabian's best-selling novel about American young people, readers were introduced to a whole new breed of women: saucy, outspoken bombshells with short skirts, shorter hair and plenty of "It." "It" was nothing more than sex appeal – something women were not supposed to exhibit. In the 1920s, any girl who possessed "It" was called a Flapper. Flappers who liked dancing and syncopated music were known as Jazz Babies.

Flappers and Jazz Babies generally disdained convention and did as they pleased. Though many cartoonists portrayed the Flapper as ditzy, empty-headed and shallow, most were educated young women who were dealing with the disillusionment of postwar America and trying to forge their own paths in a new society. As such, cutting or “bobbing” the hair was considered a symbol of freedom as were short skirts and the absence of corsets.

Gradually, the Flapper look entered mainstream America. Single and married women in the cities and the country came to enjoy the comfort and ease of the new styles. The Flapper's signature hairstyle was given even more legitimacy in the late 1920s when First Lady Grace Coolidge cut off her long hair and adopted a short style.

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