See caption
The actress Norma Shearer, dressed in typical flapper style, 1927
Wikimedia Commons

Flapper was an American slang term for a sub-culture of young women that emerged following the First World War,[1] and especially during the 1920s. It was used to describe fashionable young women intent on enjoying themselves and flouting conventional standards of behaviour,[2] including a sexual freedom that shocked the Victorian morality of their parents.[1]

The writer F. Scott Fitzgerald, author of The Great Gatsby, characterised the flappers as “flat-chested lovelies in rolled-down hose, living it up at house parties and in the backseats of roadsters”.[3]

The flappers disappeared in the economic meltdown following the Wall Street crash of 1929, just as quickly as they had emerged.[3]



Knowles, Elizabeth. “Flapper.” The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, Online, Oxford University Press, 2006, 9780198609810.
Wagner-Martin, Linda. “Flapper.” The Oxford Companion to Women’s Writing in the United States, edited by Cathy N. Davidson et al., Oxford University Press, 2005,