Flappers were always pretty much on the side of life and free. In fact, at a recent fashion show in Tokyo, someone showed a flapper in a tuxedo topless! She wanted to come right out and say, ‘I’m an object of the desire that every man has for women!’
Why was this such an important story for the women’s rights movement?
Flappers were one of the few women in Japan who were allowed to wear makeup as they saw fit and express the freedom of choice that flappers always held in great measure. The Japanese were always trying hard to make women more sexual. Men would go out to party and take off their clothes. Women would come home in flannel pajamas wearing their hair down to make themselves look more sexy. Even though there were still some men who wore dresses and shoes, the fashion of the era had changed.
How did flappers find new ways to express their freedom? How did flappers use humor, irony and self-deprecation to express their desire to be free?
Flappers were so sexually liberated. Everyone was free to look their very best with or without makeup. I remember one time when I was dancing at the Tokyo Flower Show, the audience was really shocked when I walked out in my full makeup, wearing an outfit with an elaborate sequin dress. The audience started laughing so hard that some people started laughing too! Flappers loved this and were always thinking up new ways to express their freedom. They used humor, irony, self deprecation and self-deprecation to express their desire to be free.
How were the flapper women able to survive when so many women were enslaved and in prostitution? Could you tell us how the flapper women and girls kept their bodies healthy and strong?
The girls made sure that their bodies remained well nourished and that they received plenty of exercise and good food. A lot of girls went to school to be more involved in school sports. I also recall that young women were taught by their parents, teachers, brothers, sisters and brothers-in-law to think deeply about the problems of the society and to work hard toward solving social problems. There was a very strong feminist group called the New Woman Society in Japan. The women who belonged to that society were free of the pressures to be married and also of the sexual pressures to get married. Women like that were really free and they were extremely healthy.
What were your memories of the culture
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