By Magali Castaneda
Strength. Independence. Women grabbed the future by the balls and made things happen in the 20’s. It all started with one badass lady, Susan B. Anthony. She dedicated most of her adult life to women’s rights and it paid off! August 18, 1920 the 19th Amendment was passed which granted universal women’s suffrage. We were allowed to vote! Then, in 1921 the first Miss America was crowned, a sixteen-year-old Margaret Gorman.
These events empowered women to make changes in other parts of their lives. They started to think of themselves as equals to men. At this point women were already allowed to attend college but were restricted to majors like home economics, you know, why we ALL go to college now. Ladies’ thoughts were now consumed with a new reality, if you will; she could have a career and support herself. Women began wearing different things, dancing, showin’ a little leg, makin’ a little love… maybe, I don’t really know about that last one. The 20’s was an era of flappers and flappers were the personification of how women were feeling. They wore flashy dresses with no defined waists, smoked cigarettes out of fancy sticks to keep it classy, drank as much as they pleased to keep it trashy and danced the night away to jazz, heathens, I tell ya!
Coco Chanel was the epitome of a woman in the 20’s, she created a fashion house that still stands today based on silhouettes that were non-constricting. So, you can thank Chanel for getting rid of corsets! Then, this era took an unexpected turn with the stock market crash of 1929. Postwar prosperity was over and the outlook of America’s future was steep. This resulted in high unemployment, for men in particular and kicked off The Great Depression.
As I read through pages and pages of the 1920’s I felt like I could relate to all of it. I remember 2008 and 2009 and how my friends’ parents were unemployed and going through rough times. Once again America’s faith in the future was close to gone. We have all gone through similar but miniscule experiences of what happened in the 20’s. I’m an educated woman, I don’t plan on making dinner for anyone but myself in the next 5 years and if I want to run for the Miss America pageant, I can, even though I’m Mexican American. And contrary to popular belief, I was born in America. I wonder how many of us would’ve made it had we been born in that era? Now, we live our lives with no restrictions and women and men are allowed to do whatever their hearts desire. If they want to be stay at home dads, they can do it, if women want to be single until their 30’s they can do that. We can thank the ballsy women of the 1920’s for pushing social norms and giving us things we now take for granted, like voting! 😉
Prosperity and its Demise. (2013). America’s best history. Retrieved from http://www.mentormob.com/learn/i/1920s-playlist-3/americas-best-history-us-history-timeline-1920-to1929
The 1920s: Lifestyles and Social Trends: Overview. (2013). American decades. Retrieved from http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3468300881.html
http://upchucky.us/JukeCity/RoaringTwenties/Flappers.jpg (Dancing Flappers)
http://viliflik.files.wordpress.com/2010/09/coco_chanel.jpg (Chanel smoking)
1920’s Fashion: Coco Chanel, Marlene Dietrich and more Style Icons from the Era. (2013). Huff post style. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/20/1920s-fashion-coco-chanel-_n_3293425.html