Inspiration for the Modern Girl

“The Flapper awoke from her lethargy of sub-deb-ism, bobbed her hair, put on her choicest pair of earrings and a great deal of audacity and rouge and went into the battle.” - A Eulogy on the Flapper, Zelda Fitzgerald

We’ve been flat out, ladies. It’s been hard to oust ourselves from our sweaties. But I am here to help. I’ve been digging deep into herstory to find inspirational gifs and clips to help you reconnect with your inner wildness, your fearlessness, your sense of self worth. There may be no more perfect role model to get you up and fighting than the daring and courageous flapper.

Some of you might think choosing the devil-may-care, debonair flapper is insensitive to the gravity of our current situation. But this isn’t about politics, this is about getting you out of bed. The 1920’s were, in many ways, an era of great female joy, and we could use a little joy right now. Women began to drink and smoke publicly, go to college and hold down real jobs. We can channel women who were tasting freedom for the first time so we can enjoy our freedom to the fullest.

Flapper Philosophy

Never be bored, or boring.

This pretty much sums up the whole philosophy. The best way to do this is to replace fear with curiosity. And you’re going to need to dance. A lot. I’m going to suggest starting with The Charleston.

The basic concept of The Charleston is this:

I like to envision gleefully kicking my enemies in the nuts while I practice.

The Charleston is a dance of kicking off bullshit, of walking through a garbage world grinning. In short, it is the perfect dance for the shit pill we must currently swallow.

Like most social dances, there are a lot of stories about who invented the Charleston, but we’re gonna hand this one to African-American Broadway choreographer Elida Webb.

Elida is also credited with discovering flapper megastar/sexpot Josephine Baker. For your further flapper dgaf inspiration here’s Josephine dancing the Charleston topless in 1927.

Bonus Bad Ass Charleston-ing:

10 year old Mildred Unger does The Charleston on the wing of an airplane at 2,000 feet, the 1927 equivalent of a viral video.

10 year old Mildred Unger Dances The Charleston on the wings of an airplane.

The 1920’s, Era of the Original Bisexual Chic

LGBTQ rights are, once again, under attack, so let’s take a second to honor the fact that our ancestors got so experimental post WWI they invented a whole new term for it. “Bisexual chic” was coined to describe the rampant and notable sexual experimentation of our beloved flappers. At the helm of the movement was gender bending German actress Marlene Dietrich. If you want some real Dietrich fire, watch The Blue Angel, where she plays a cabaret entertainer who literally ruins men’s lives.

Other notable 1920s bisexuals include:

Mae West

Ethel Waters

And Colette, filmed here petting her cats.

In honor of these badass flappers and 1920’s heroines, I encourage you to push yourself this week to replace your fear with curiosity and action. Love who and what you want with uncivilized abandon. Dance on the wing of an airplane.

These wild women fought for freedom so women could enjoy it. And we owe it to them to revel in and protect that freedom for those who come after us. So rouge up, hike up that skirt, and let’s get to work.


Donate to the ACLU or Planned Parenthood.