Posts Tagged ‘1920’s’

Flapping’ and Excluding Away: Race, Gender, and Flappers

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

It is clear that the vessels for change in the revivalism era had not only a separate sphere in terms of private versus public, but it had also a lot to do with race as well.  Whilst white, middle age women were encouraged to stay at home and domesticate their children and their homes, African American women on the revivalism front were excluded at every turn of the page in Sin and the City by Thekla Ellen Joiner.  Largely, blacks were excluded from the revivalist moment to save the city from sexual immorality because black women were viewed as “…when compared to white womanhood , whites saw blacks as “morally loose,” and outside the parameters of respectability” (Joiner 12).

This exclusion of African American women from the largely, white, Protestant  women’s movement to in the 1920’s to take sin out of the city was especially evident in dividing the movement along racial lines.

Perception of flappers; white women were considered innocent, their virginity rarely held in question


Black Flappers OR Oversexed black women? What is the difference?

In terms of the black versus the white flappers  I do not see any difference, the fact that African American women were held at a different standard is all wrong!  Ironically, as Joiner points out, both white working class girls and black girls were influenced by the same ills of struggling to find work and having to engage in prostitution.  Just as Joiner points out, “…with the upsurge in working women (both black and white) paralleled by an apparent rise in prostitution  civic leaders and reformers began to investigate this network that lured unsuspecting women into prostitution” (Joiner 126).


The result is simple, it was a double standard.  The racism and stereotypes prevailed.  White was considered the mainstream and acceptable mode of address to question the sexual ills and morality in late 19th century early 20th century society.