A young woman of the Jazz Age or Roaring Twenties embodying the exuberance and rebelliousness of youth and the independence of women in a new era.

In striking contrast to the corseted, coiffed and covered Gibson Girls of twenty years earlier, flappers had a very boyish, simplified look, with short cropped hair; a cloche hat if a hat was necessary; a straight dress that bared arms and legs -- nearly up to the knee; and stockings rolled down to just above the knee. Underwear would have been a simple step-in.

This style of dress exemplified independence and comfort, along with some dramatic steps towards equality with men -- and echoed the style of the Parisian prostitutes that doughboys had seen over there while fighting The Great War.

Some of these innovations, along with the new activites in which young women could participate, were shocking to the older generation: the fairer sex had always worn long hair, and never bared their knees. Some flappers smoked, imbibed, wore rouge and lipstick, and even had petting parties with their sheiks.

Welcome to Modernity, and the way young adults deal with it. As Ellen Welles Page writes in A Flapper's Appeal to Parents (Outlook magazine, December 6, 1922):

We are the Younger Generation. The war tore away our spiritual foundations and challenged our faith. We are struggling to regain our equilibrium. The times have made us older and more experienced than you were at our age. It must be so with each succeeding generation if it is to keep pace with the rapidly advancing and mighty tide of civilization. Help us to put our knowledge to the best advantage. Work with us! That is the way! Outlets for this surplus knowledge and energy must be opened. Give us a helping hand.

Contemporaneous references: Bliven, Bruce: Flapper Jane, The New Republic, September 9, 1925; Page, Ellen Welles, A Flapper's Appeal to Parents, Outlook magazine, December 6, 1922

The Flapper
Dorothy Parker

The Playful flapper here we see,
The fairest of the fair.
She's not what Grandma used to be,
You might say, au contraire.
Her girlish ways make you stir,
Her manners cause a scene.
But there is no more harm in her
Than in a submarine

She nightly knocks for many a goal
The usual dancing men.
Her speed is great, but her control
Is something else again.
All spotlights focus on her pranks.
All tongues her prowess herald.
For which she well may render thanks
To God and Scott Fitzgerald.

Her golden rule is plain enough--
Just get them young and treat them rough.

(plumbing): The flapper is the most common, and easily remedied, source of toilet trouble. It's a bulb, typically made of rubber, which hooks onto the fill valve in the toilet's tank and covers the hole leading from the tank to the bowl.

The top of the bulb has a chain which attaches to the flush lever, so that flushing the toilet pulls the flapper upward and lets the water in the tank enter the bowl, where it does what it's supposed to do. (unless the toilet is clogged, which is another problem entirely...)

Sometimes the flapper will come loose, in which case water will continue to leak into the bowl while the fixture is not in use. Returning it to its proper position is simple; you may need to remove a link or two from the chain to keep it more tightly secured. If the flapper appears to be in place and it's still letting water through, there is either a problem with the valve itself, or with the seal between flapper and gasket. Since the flapper is made of rubber and decays far more quickly than just about any toilet component, odds are good it's what needs to be replaced. A new one will cost you 2 or 3 US dollars.

In Gulliver's Travels a flapper is a person who stands between people in power and those who would like to talk to said person.

If you want to talk to the king, you talk to the flapper, who translates your words for the king, and then the king whispers to the flapper who then interperets the king's reply for you. In dealing with any similar system, it quickly becomes obvious where the real power lies...

Flap"per (?), n.


One who, or that which, flaps.


See Flipper.

"The flapper of a porpoise."


Flapper skate Zool., a European skate (Raia intermedia).


© Webster 1913.

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