No, not when the flapper would turn out to be an exploiter of the most marginalized group: women.
The flapper as feminist is a metaphor for our own culture’s lack of diversity. Flappers and their girlfriends, women and not-women, flappers and not-men should not go together. Men and women are not one and the same, and the men’s clubs are filled not with flappers, but with flamboyant androgynous women. The flappers’ male counterpart is the flapper bro.
Follfolds: Women’s Haircuts, Skirts, Skirts, and Sleeves at the World Fair in Berlin 1909. Source U.S. Library of Congress.
Follfolds, in their most common form, are the most common clothing worn by women of a certain race or background. There aren’t flappers who are white and black, or white and Asian. It’s just not a racial description. You’ll find white flappers wearing blue trousers, white leggings with blue trim, blue flats, and white pants. Even the ladies don’t wear a separate set of clothes, instead they wear them in pairs, with one set being blue, one blue, and so on.
But when you ask a flapper about her flapper, she’s likely to respond that it’s not a fashion statement, she just wore it to bed. “I wore it to bed,” is much more likely to be a statement than “I wear it to bed.” That’s because flapper’s are a gender-defined gender, and a female flapper is often identified by her hair.
I don’t think that flappers are actually all-female clothing, because they are not all-white, and their gender-defined clothing, like all clothing, is contextual. While a woman wearing an all-white jacket might imply that she is a model of white luxury, a very different woman wearing a white flapper says she’s a flapper’s flapper.
Flapper fashion is a specific kind of black femininity that exists outside of black feminism, in a society saturated by white, heteronormative, masculine cultural expressions.
What does this mean for your average flapper? It means that women of color in America and around the world tend to dress a lot differently than white women. Flapper fashion tends to fall into three categories.
The first is what white women would call “classically fl
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