Harlem Renaissance Flappers: Liberated Women Enjoying Life


You might have heard the term “flappers,” but never gave the term too much thought.  Flappers were a big part of the 1920s era. The flappers were usually young single ladies who wore their hair short, sometimes in a bob, and loose skirts that were perfect for dancing. The women were quite feminine but they were also trying to break through gender barriers. Their clothing allowed them to partake in sporting activities if they wanted to.


According to The Glory of the 1920s, these women lived a fast lifestyle, and risky sexual behavior.  Many of the women were not afraid to experiment sexually than previous generations. Flappers appeared to cling to their youth as if it was to leave them at any moment. They lived risky and reckless. By night, flappers engaged in the active city night life. The women would frequently go to jazz clubs and other shows. Many women consumed alcohol and smoked. Some people wondered if they were just trying to be men.

Flappers were not just in the African American community, it was a big part of the European culture as well. The flappers chose activities that were to please themselves, as opposed to being married at a young age and settled down with children. Many women found the era of the flappers as time to celebrate a woman’s independence. It was a feeling of liberation, moving from being the socially silenced woman to the more active and outspoken type. However, not all women took part in the new found freedom. With their skirts made for dancing and short hair styles, one thing is certain about flappers, they knew how to have a good time.





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