The New Woman and the Politics of the 1920s

The New Woman and the Politics of the 1920s

Discussion #5
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For our final discussion of the course, we are going to look at women’s lives in the 1920s. One of the most popular figures of the 1920s was the Flapper: a young woman who danced to jazz, drank in speakeasies, was far more independent than was expected of women in the late Victorian era that preceded them. She was often described as the New Woman of the 1920s.

Please read Chapter 5: The Revolution in Manners and Morals in Frederick Lewis Allen’s Only Yesterday found at the link below:

How did Allen describe women in the 1920s and how societal standards had changed? Does his work have any biases? What does he find important about these changes?

As a counter-point, please read “The New Woman and the Politics of the 1920s by Lynn Dumenil. (Links to an external site.) (from this page, you can download the PDF).

How does Dumenil, a modern historian, portray women in the 1920s? What does she argue were their polical goals, if any? How do these connect to women’s political goals around 1900?

Think about the New Woman of the 1920s. How do their goals compare to the Feminist movement of the 1960s? Women in both times pushed to expand the boundaries of what society said they should be. What tactics did they use to expand their place in society?


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