I’ll tell you, the first flapper in the country was Nancy Drew. The flapper dress in the 1920s and 1930s was a combination of silk and flax. It was a really elegant dress, a sort of a dress and tie, and people of the time, the 1940s, were fascinated by the flapper dress. So they put flannel and flax on it, and it ended up being a really glamorous dress to dress to a party.
And so, we’ve had a wonderful history in the country of women taking flapper outfits and dressing them up in everything from the most conservative kind of dresses to sort of flapper things. And the idea that there’s a sort of “flapper dress” is always sort of in the middle of the debate. It’s always sort of at the heart of the argument.
So why do you keep coming back to it, even though it’s become part of this whole national conversation?
Well, the reason is that people want to have their say and they don’t want to be left out of the debate. I think more than anything, people want to talk about that history, because of its historical importance. And a lot of people actually go to conferences and they go, “Well, does it say, ‘Women have to be a class? Does it say, ‘[women] have to have it out there?'” And there are a variety of answers. You could take “yes” or you could take a different one.
But I think if it’s in the conversation, it helps make a difference.
You wrote a piece for The New York Times, which was published after your essay published in the Times, in which you said:
I am sure that at least some of your readers will be disappointed that I have written a piece about not being happy about the gender gap in science. I am not happy because I would like to see a gender gap on the side of women. I am not happy because I hope that a gender gap will solve a lot of different problems, but because I hope that it can be addressed. I am glad, then, that I can have my cake and eat it, too.
Do you see any hope in an overall gender gap, or are you disappointed that there isn’t one?
I think we actually had a great chance with the Obama administration to really put the issue to bed. We made a huge push, and it’s really hard to make an argument for
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