Society has had this concept of what women’s role in life should be since the beginning of time. For as long as anyone can remember, humanity expected women to stay at home, attend the men’s needs, and take care of household duties. Since society has evolved, women have more freedom, rights, and respect from others. However, there is still a small percentage who think women have a distinct place in life and shouldn’t drift from their “path”. In Twin Peaks and “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?”, women were treated as if they were irrelevant and melodramatic.
During the 1920s women gained a freedom that they had not known before. Women were wearing new and shorter fashion styles (document 4). Before the 1920s women’s fashion included floor length dresses that were usually reworn every day. Wearing the same dress every day was seen as a normality during this time and owning too many dresses could have been considered frivolous. In the 1920s however many women owned multiple dresses that they did not have to wear every day or even week.
The corset can be seen as a comparison to the way women felt before the 1920s, because not only were women's clothing tight and suffocating, but so were their lives as a whole. Women were confined to living life at home in the kitchen or satisfying the needs of their husband and children. In addition, women had legal restrictions when it came to working and having a say in the way our country is governed. Around the same time that women began renovating and modernizing their style, they began to repair and take control over their lives and decisions. Skirts that were once worn at floor length, were soon shrunk down in size and ended at the calf, which was a big change in the 1920s.
The Homestead Act is a special Act that promoted migration to the western part of US. Public lands were made easily accessible to settlers with a small filing fee in exchange for 160 acres of land to be used for farming. Homesteaders received ownership of the land after continuously residing on the land for five years. Homesteaders also had an alternative of acquiring the land from the government by paying a specified amount per acre, after six months of residency. The Homestead Act resulted in the distribution of million acres of public land (Library of Congress n.p).
Flappers wore controversial attire that correlated with their equally controversial ideology. In “Women’s Fashion”, another section of “American Decades”, Tompkins references the styles of Flappers in the 1920s, specifically how their clothing was a result of changing values. Tompkins states “Women's fashions in the 1920s reflected radical changes affecting many areas of post-World War I American society.” Flapper attire included knee length dresses that were very loosely hung, short “Bobbed” haircuts, and heavy cosmetics, something that was traditionally strictly for prostitutes.
At the end of World War I and World War II, after women had taken over male jobs while fighting, men returned but women wanted to keep the jobs they had obtained when the war had ended (Stoneham). Women of the wars had gained lots of independence, but when the 1950s came around women lost it and became more domestic. The women of the 1950s returned back to the idea of being required to work at home and that they had no place in society. But 1950s women were more than just a passive link between working women of the war and political activists in the 1960s, the 1950s gave women the drive and motivation to be as strong in society that they are today. (Holt).
Throughout American society, Women have been downgraded in the face of men. In america’s past, women were seen purely as housewives, and had no place in a higher position. Today women have many more rights, putting them on much more equal terms as men. With this, women have shown their capabilities and their worth to society, leading its progression, and proving that the arguments of the anti-suffrage movement were initially the opposite of what women could really do. The arguments that women’s place is only at home and that men have the sole job of running government and society has been proven wrong by women in contemporary society.
In the 1920s fashion was a movement of freedom with flappers, bobbed hairstyles and using art as a fashion statement. “Fashion should be stylish and fun,” (Twiggy). In any decade fashion was a way of saying something. One of the women’s careers was being in the fashion industry.
The new-found freedom changed women’s attitudes to themselves, to men, marriage and to the family. The result of the change was liberating fashion in clothing and hairstyles. Before this, dress and hair were longer and modest. Now, bobbed hair was the rage ‘Hair was first bobbed, then shingled, and then Eton cropped in 1926-7.
The New York Times even commented on this saying “the American woman has her skirts far beyond any modest limitations” ( Allen 68) Just the fact that this new generation of women had shorter skirts and thinner dresses drove older generations into an uproar. On top of the skirts, there was now a more widespread use of cosmetics by adolescent girls something that was also
The 1900s was completely different from the previous centuries. It witnessed a tremendous change in the ideal female body image, which also changed from one decade to another. In The twentieth century, women started exposing more of their body, like
An example of social transformation during this decade can be clearly seen in the radical change of the appearance and behavior of women. Before the twenties, women were arrested for dressing immodestly and for smoking and drinking. During this span of rebelliousness, women displayed their new privilege of drinking and smoking by doing so in public. Women also went from long flowing hair to short bob haircuts, modest attire to short-length clothes, and a low profile while having a jolly time to making themselves noticed by dancing in a loud expressive way. Women of this new trend were labeled with the title widely known as “flappers” (Keesee 474).
During the 1890’s until today, the roles of women and their rights have severely changed. They have been inferior, submissive, and trapped by their marriage. Women have slowly evolved into individuals that have rights and can represent “feminine individuality”. The fact that they be intended to be house-caring women has changed.
Women have always played an important role in the history of the United States. Throughout different time periods, their roles in society and in government have changed in many ways. Whether women were helping the war manufacturing effort, striving for suffrage, helping soldiers during the war, or just raising their children; their roles have been influential to the social structure of the United States today. Their desire for equal rights, their willingness to help American soldiers, and the absence of men in the workplace are responsible for the changing role of women.