Women who were rebellious, rebellious from their parents’ sense of decorum and manners. They wore their hair long, their lips black, they wore little makeup, they wore high heels, they made their husbands feel bad—not always, but when their husbands wanted to see them, they made their husbands angry—and they did it for fun.
A woman who looked like she wasn’t doing anything important for a living was called an “amused flapper.” She’d never had a steady job; she’d often dropped out of school for months or even years. She was always traveling as much as she could, sometimes even to Mexico. She wore a pink-lace, long-line dress that emphasized her small hips and legs, and also had many big-ass heels to show off her slender legs. She always seemed to be having fun. One historian of flappers once noted that flappers did more “meltdowns than other women had in their whole lives”—meltdowns that flappers often wanted to escape, from the very moment they appeared on stage at the Flappers’ Party. But that was what made the flappers funny.
In “Anatomy of the American Flapper Lady,” I suggested that Americans are more or less a society of flappers, and that flappers are so different from, say, a white woman who’s a waitress, that it might seem a bit silly to use the word flapper for one whose occupation is in her late thirties or early forties. But my point is that flappers have made their way into our language from the early nineteenth century, when the flapper’s dance began to catch on in the Southern states. There has been a lot of emphasis on the Southern women who came to be called “flappers,” who looked like flappers, and who wore flappers’ dresses, but there is one who has probably made the most significant contribution to the flapper metaphor: Harriet Tubman.
Tubman was born at a time when the abolitionist, slaveowner, and reformer George Washington Carver was writing a book on the “Indian Problem,” which he had done in part while looking for a secretary to help him get published in an important new magazine called The New Freedom. The abolitionist was trying to make a living on his book, but he realized that, in order to get it published, he’d have to sell it in a market where abolitionists wouldn’t normally find it, so instead of finding someone who could have
party city flapper dress, 20s style flapper dresses, high end flapper dresses, great gatsby outfits, buy vintage costumes