1920-'60 - Flapper, Swing, Pin-up & Rockabilly

Flappers were a generation of young Western women in the 1920's who wore short skirts, bobbed their hair, listened to jazz, and flaunted their disdain for what was then considered acceptable behavior. (Wikipedia.com)  

In the age before the Roaring Twenties, women were still wearing floor-length dresses. Waists were cinched. Arms and legs were covered. Corsets were standard on a daily basis. Hair was long. The Gibson girl was the idealized image of beauty. And the Victorian attitudes toward dress and etiquette created a strict moral climate.

Then the 1920s hit and things changed rapidly. The 19th Amendment passed in 1920 giving women the right to vote. Women began attending college. The Equal Rights Amendment was proposed by Alice Paul in 1923. World War I was over and men wanted their jobs back. Women, though, who had joined the workforce while the men were at war, had tasted the possibility of life beyond homemaking and weren’t ready to relinquish their jobs. Prohibition was underway with the passing of the 18th Amendment in 1919 and speakeasies were plentiful if you knew where to look. Motion pictures got sound, color and talking sequences. The Charleston’s popularity contributed to a nationwide dance craze. Every day, more women got behind the wheels of cars. And prosperity abounded.

All these factors—freedoms experienced from working outside the home, a push for equal rights, greater mobility, technological innovation and disposable income—exposed people to new places, ideas and ways of living. Particularly for women, personal fulfillment and independence became priorities—a more modern, carefree spirit where anything seemed possible.

The embodiment of that 1920's free spirit was the flapper, who was viewed disdainfully by an older generation as wild, boisterous and disgraceful. While this older generation was clucking its tongue, the younger one was busy reinventing itself, and creating the flapper lifestyle we now know today. (Smithsonianmag.com)

Swing music, or simply swing, is a form of popular music developed in the United States that dominated in the 1930's and 1940's. The name swing came from the 'swing feel' where the emphasis is on the off–beat or weaker pulse in the music. Swing bands usually featured soloists who would improvise on the melody over the arrangement. The danceable swing style of big band and bandleaders such as Benny Goodman was the dominant form of American popular music from 1935 to 1946, a period known as the swing era. The verb "to swing" is also used as a term of praise for playing that has a strong groove or drive. (Wikipedia.com)

A Pin-up Girl is a man’s ideal of the “perfect woman.” Men want to look at them and women want to look-like them. Pin-Up girls have been around since the 1890's but became most popular in the 1940's. Many “pin ups” were photographs of celebrities who were considered sex symbols.

Pin-up girls represented everything an average woman aspired to and reflected a glamorous side of life that seemed to be missing in the forties and fifties. These Images could be found almost anywhere; magazines, calendars, posters, newspapers, postcards or even in chromolithographs. Later, posters of “pin-up girls” were mass-produced. (Militaryspot.com)

Rockabilly, early form of rock music originated by white performers in the American South, popular from the mid-1950's to 1960, with a revival in the late 1970's. Record reviewers coined the term rockabilly—literally, rock and roll played by hillbillies—to describe the intense, rhythm-driven musical style introduced by Elvis Presley on his first recordings. (Britannica.com)

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