The Flapper

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Two flappers dancing on the edge of a roof. In heels.

The quintessential Twenties (American, Western European or sophisticated) woman. A young lady ever more spirited than the Spirited Young Lady, thanks to feminine liberty. She danced the Shimmy and the Charleston, wore make-up for the first time since the 18th century, drank with the boys, and enjoyed various other delights The Roaring Twenties had to offer. Short hair, short skirts, short, loose & low-waisted evening gowns, high rolled stockings, boyish figures, and swanky cloche hats were a must.

Their sexual liberty was a result of women's growing hatred of the classic Double Standard; that promiscuous men were "studs," while promiscuous women were "whores." In their eyes, men and women were equal, so they could be just as sexually free. Another factor was the then popular view of women as house wives and mothers who should be subordinate to their men and preferably not leave the house.

Examples of The Flapper include:


  • Gina in Porco Rosso, as befits the early depression setting. Especially apparent in comparison to the Edwardian dress she wears in her flashback.
  • In the "epilogue" episodes of Steel Angel Kurumi, Saki embraces the flapper aesthetic - not the overtly sexual version popularized by Clara Bow, but the earlier, more innocent type popularized by Colleen Moore.





Web Original

Western Animation

  • Betty Boop: None other than the Boop herself.
  • In The Simpsons, we once see a photo of Marge's mother in her flapper days.
  • This was the original characterization for Minnie Mouse, however times faded and she lost her flapper look.

Real Life

  • When Joan Crawford came to Hollywood in 1925 she promoted herself by entering and winning dance contests doing the Charleston and other routines of that era. Her early roles often featured her dancing skills.
  • Clara Bow, the original IT girl, was Hollywood's foremost flapper in the 20's.
  • Louise Brookes and her iconic bobbed hair.