“The Flapper” (1924)
This is an image of “The Flapper” that was published on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post in 1923. this specific cover depicts a young woman with a bob cut, makeup, and a strapless dress with beads around her neck. “The Flapper” was a rather common image during the mid 1900’s that was featured on a variety of magazines and advertisements that helped to redefine womanhood by instilling a sense of independence. “The Flapper” varied in appearance across the media but was generally a young, stylish, and promiscuous women who partook in activities that were considered immoral such as drinking alcohol and sexual affairs. The role of this woman icon was crucial because it helped to redefine the role of women and became an advantage for feminists who were fighting for the opportunity to away from traditional women’s roles. With “The Flapper” being widely used in advertisements and magazine covers, she symbolized freedom and independence through the advertisement of feminine products by acknowledging that women had incomes of their own. The image was also successful in creating a sense of sexual appeal. Through this sex appeal, the image symbolized the idea of personal choice which provoked women to do what they pleased such as demonstrating their sexual desires more publicly.
“Shave ‘Em Dry” by Lucille Bogan (1935)
The song “Shave ‘Em Dry” was written in 1935 by the American singer-songwriter Lucille Bogan who was famous for her sexually explicit lyrics. The song was published at the height of the Harlem Renaissance in the city of New York. In the song, she references her private parts and sings about engaging in sexual activities which brings her privacy into the public. With the help of songwriters such as Bogan, the Harlem Renaissance increased the normalcy of sexual topics and made sexual references less taboo. As a female artist, Bogan’s explicit music was able to expose both men and women to a different view on women’s roles in society that had been previously based on modest femininity. This source is crucial in helping to define the increasing prevalence of sex in the music industry during the 1920’s and 1930’s which in turn helped encourage women’s sexual freedom.