Death of the Gibson Girl: Birth of the Flappers

Carol RoachStarred Page By Carol Roach, 25th Mar 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>History

In the struggle for women's rights which stems well over a century, some women made great strides in changing the social mores of the day. We have a lot to learn from the Victorian era and how the woman’s role was contained to the house and household activities, yet the men still controlled the purse strings. The Gibson Girl was a new image for women at the turn of the 20th century followed by the flappers that cut through social convention at the beginning of the 20th century.


Today we continue the women's series with three generations of women who were given the names, Victorian Women, The Gibson Girl, and The Flappers.

Gibson Girl Continued

Gibson Girl Continued

One has to wonder if women ran these huge magazines in this era would the Gibson Girl be like modern day feminine role models, or just a dressed up version of what many thought was beautiful, independent and sexy?
No matter how progressive the Gibson Girl was for her time, this imagine of the new independent woman was still under the chains of her creator, Mr. Gibson.

Albeit Gibson was a male product of his times. Albert Gibson created the Gibson Girl after a wealthy Virginia socialite whom he knew. So he did have knowledge that there were women out there with beauty, poise, independence and most importantly a brain!

The war changes everything: The end of the American Gibson Girl

The Gibson Girl lost favour two decades later, largely due to the war, when women worked in factories to support the war effort. There were no interest in socialites dressed in ballroom gowns or lavish sportswear. The fashion reverted to very modest and practical. World War I women wore masculine fashion, suites or practical garb for factory work. They had to support the war effort and had no time to dream about the lives of wealthy socialites when they had to put food on their tables and feed their children while their husbands were off to war.

The Flappers

The term "flapper" was coined in Britain to represent young girls not yet women, perhaps around 18 or 19 years old, but on the verge of leaving the nest, and beginning to flap their wings so to speak. This generation of young girls were anxious to rid the bondage of the Victorian era and the harsh realities of a war. They had spent their young lives waiting on their fathers to return home from the war. They were under the pressure of World War I working in factories for long hours doing hard work. They had no time to wait for a man to ask for their hand in marriage, half of the men never returned from the war.

To be continued

Previous links:
Women: indentured, beautiful, independant and wild

Victorian Women's Daily Life

The Gibson Girl

All photos taken from the public domain

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Early War Time Factories, Factories, Flappers, Gibson Girl, Glamor Girls, Munitions Factories, World War1

Meet the author

author avatar Carol Roach
Retired therapist and author of two books, freelance writer, newsletter editor, and blogger. I write, health, mental health, women's issues, animal , celebrity, history, and SEO articles.

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author avatar Retired
26th Mar 2015 (#)

The flapper era seemed like a fun time. Thanks for another great piece!

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author avatar Eve Sherrill York
26th Mar 2015 (#)

The end of innocence.

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