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.