The Flappers’ Legacy
Posted June 23, 2012on:
We post-feminists and latter-day Jazz Babies owe a lot to the New Women of the 1920s. To that intrepid brand of vintage female we owe the right to cut our hair, to show some skin, to wear makeup, and to do anything we damn well please with whomever we like without fear of social ostracism. And most indispensably, the flappers taught us to Charleston.
They achieved momentous things for us, and we should be grateful.
But not every habit bequeathed to us from the Jazz Age generation was beneficial. For example, smoking. The flappers made folks accustomed to seeing women smoking cigarettes in public. Thank you, but no. They also had a disturbing tendency toward giving themselves alcohol poisoning.
Nearly as harmful was what the flapper did to our spines.
Here is what fashionable posture looked like a generation before the flappers:
Here, in contrast, is fashionable flapper posture:
And here is what fashionable posture looks like today:
The visual record is clear. As dancers in a culture that places little value on the spine, we need to be flappers with our attitude, but Victorians with our posture.
Also, don’t smoke.