Chapter 13-2 and 13-3
Section 2: The Twenties Woman
Young Women Change the
By the 1920’s the experiences of WWI the pull of the
cities and changing attitudes had opened a new
world for many young Americans.
In the rebellious pleasure loving atmosphere of the
twenties many women began to assert their
independence reject values of the 19th century
women and demand the same freedoms as a man.
A new ideal emerged for some women the
flapper… emancipated women who
embraced the new fashions urban attitudes
of the day.
Close fitting felt hats bright waistless dresses
above the knee, skin toned silk stockings
sleek pumps, and strings of beads replaced
the dark and prim ankle length dresses….
Women clipped their long hair into boyish
bobs dying them black. Many women
became more assertive… in their bid for
equal status….some began to smoke
cigarettes, drink in public, and talk openly
They danced the fox trot, camel walk,
tango, Charleston, and shimmy with
abandon. Attitudes toward marriage
changed it was looked at more as a
partnership… but the house work and child
rearing still remained that of a women’s job.
The Double Standard
Magazines , newspapers, and advertisements
promoted the image of the flapper, and young
people openly discussed courtship and
relationships in a way that scandalized their
The flapper was more an image of a rebellious
youth… than widespread reality. Before the
1920’s men only courted women that they
intended to marry… however in the 1920’s
causal dating became acceptable…
Double standard… set of principles granting
more sexual freedom to men than women…
require women… to observe stricter standards of
behavior…than men did. As a result many
women were pulled back and forth.
Women shed old roles at work and
The fast changing world of the 1920’s produced new roles for
women in the workplace and new trends in family life. Women
starting working in jobs at offices, factories, stores, professions
and the economy started producing time saving appliances
that changed the role in the household.
New work opportunities: Many women that held typical male
jobs during the War lost them after the War but the women
then turned to typical women’s professions… college graduates
got jobs as teachers, nurses, and librarians. Big business hired
women to be clerical workers as typists, filing clerks,
secretaries, stenographers, and office machine-operators.
Other women became clerks in stores an held jobs on the
assembly lines. Some even broke stereotypes and started
working as flying airplanes, driving taxis, and drilling wells. By
1920 10 million women were earning wages. Patterns of
discrimination and inequality for women in the business
were being established.
The Changing Family
Widespread social and economic changes
affected the family. The birthrate had been
declining and it dropped even faster during
the 1920’s. The decline was due to wider
availability of birth control information.
Margret Singer opened the first birth-control
clinic in the United States and founded the
Birth Control League … she fought for legal
rights of the physician to give birth control
information to the women.
Section 3 : Education and
Schools and the Mass Media Shape
During the 1920’s mass media and developments in
education had a powerful impact on the nation.
School enrollments: In 1914, approximately 1
million American students attended high school… in
1926 the number had risen to 4 million students an
increase sparked by prosperous times and higher
High schools now started catering to vocational
training instead of totally college bound students.
The public schools had a challenge teaching the
immigrant families children… many of these new
immigrants did not speak English. Taxes to finance
the schools rose also.
Expanding New Coverage
increased literacy in America
but it was growing mass
media that shaped the culture.
Newspaper circulation rose as
writers and editors learned
how to hook readers by
imitating the sensational
stories into tabloids.
Mass circulation of the
magazines also flourished…
Reader’s Digest was one of
Radio Comes of Age
Radio was the most
communication tool to
emerge in the 1920’s.
Americans added terms
such as “airwaves”,
“radio audience”, and
“tune in “to their
everyday speech. The
radios created a shared
national experience of
hearing the headlines.
America Chases New Heroes and
During this period people had
money and time to enjoy it.
America spent 4.5 billion on
entertainment much of it on
everyday fads… working
crossword puzzles, playing
Mashong, and some went
exploring to different places.
In the 1920’s people turned to
flagpole sitting and marathon
dancing. They also attended
America’s most beloved hero of
the time wasn’t athletic but a
small town pilot Charles A.
Lindbergh. He made the first
solo flight across the Atlantic…
he went after the $25,000 prize.
He took off near New York in
the Spirit of St.Louis and flew to
the coast of Newfoundland and
headed across the Atlantic… he
landed in LeBourget airfield
outside of Paris.
Amelia Earhart also attempted
these brave flights during this
Entertainment and the
Sound movies came in during this period… the first
major motion picture with sound was “The Jazz
Singer” and then “Steamboat Willie”… the first
The new “talkies” had doubled movie attendance
Playwrights and composers of music broke away
from the European traditions of the 1920’s… Eugene
O’Neil’s plays such as Hairy Ape forced the
Americans to reflect upon modern isolation and
family conflict. Fame was given to George Gershwin
when he merged traditional elements with American
Painters appeared… Edward Hopper caught the
loneliness of American life and Georgia O’Keeffe
produced intensely colored canvases that captured
the grandeur of New York.
Writers of the 1920’s
Sinclair Lewis: Babbitt Lewis used the main character George
F. Babbitt to ridicule Americans for their conformity
F. Scott Fitzgerald: Wrote Great Gatsby and This Side of
Paradise… he revealed the negative side of the period’s gaiety
and freedom portraying wealthy and attractive people leading
imperiled lives in gilded surroundings.
Dorothy Parker: a short story writer poet and essayist….
Famous for wisecracking wit.
Edna Wharton: Age of Innocence
Edna St. Vincent Millay: wrote poems celebrating youth and
life of independence and freedom from traditional constraints.
Some settled in Paris upset about American culture…Lost
Ernest Hemingway…. Wounded WWI …. Soldier. The Sun
Also Rises… A Farwell to Arms