Cannonball Read IV

A bunch of Pajibans reading and reviewing and honoring AlabamaPink.

Quorren’s #CBR4 Review #18 Flapper by Joshua Zeitz

If you think fo the Roaring Twenties, you first thought is going to be of a flapper, a woman wearing a baggy dres, shiny bobbed hair, possibly with a cigarette on her lips and a drink in her hand.  If your first thought isn’t flapper, then you’re wrong and need to rethink your life.  Because the flappers owned the Roaring Twenties.

Zeitz highlights the women (and occasionally the men) that had the greatest impact on the flapper culture.  From Coco Chanel in Paris revolutionizing the fashion industry to Collen Moore on the silver screen, the book details what it meant to be a flapper in the twenties, how a woman became a flapper and, most importantly, how she pissed off the world.  Each flapper that Zietz memorializes deserves more pages than she’s given, but then the book would be thousands of pages long.  But the woman that gets the most words dedicated to her is the Queen of Flapperdom, Zelda Fitzgerald.  F. Scott, her husband, would’ve been a nobody in the literary world if he didn’t have Zelda as his muse.  F. Scott really didn’t make a name for himself until he tapped into the germinating flapper culture.  Each female lead was a ghostly image of Zelda, the free-spirited, heart breaking teenager he fell in love with.  Their love story isn’t the happiest of romances, but they did sure know how be memorable.  If they lived in today’s world, they’d have their own reality show on VH1.

Speaking of reality TV, the feminist high I was riding during and immediately after reading was abruptly crushed when I realized the flappers I regarded so highly really aren’t much better than the celebutantes I ridicule.  While it’s great that women in the twenties found their own identities, spearheaded equality and helped break down Victorian attitudes towards sex, they weren’t really doing it on purpose.  (Or, if they were, it’s not mentioned in the book.)  They were going out all night, riding in cars with boys, being scandalously dressed simply because they wanted to.  To each they own, I guess, and I’m trying not to sound like such a stick in the mud, but I’m having a hard time trying to find the answer to what makes me think flappers were glamorous while at the same time I think the Jersey Shore is…gross.  Anyone have an answer so I don’t feel like so much of a hypocrite?

However, in this political climate and its war on women, the book did restore a bit of faith in the world with me.  The women of the twenties didn’t have the feminist role models we have today and they still broke out of their prescribed gender roles.  Maybe we can build off of their foundation and make sure women don’t become second class citizens again.

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2 thoughts on “Quorren’s #CBR4 Review #18 Flapper by Joshua Zeitz

  1. bothari43 on said:

    Hmm. Here’s a guess, at least: in the 1920s, society was trying to keep a portion of the population down, and the squelched portion was trying to break free. In the Jersey Shore era, society is trying to keep everybody up – we don’t want people to be dumber and more useless than they need to be. We’re trying to hit some sort of equilibrium, and the celebutantes are bringing everybody down. *end attempted b.s.*

    Sounds like a fun book! Adding it to the list!

  2. alwaysanswerb on said:

    Nice review! Sometimes we can’t help our biases. I definitely want to check this one out :)

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