Skip to content
Jazz Influence on the 20th Century

icon picker
Jazz Influence on the 20th Century

The musical genre of jazz had a significant impact on multiple social movements and historical events. This video essay will cover the impression that jazz had on the Women's Liberation Movement as well as the fashion industry of it's time.
Taylor Hoffman
The Importance of the Women’s Liberation Movement (WLM)
This movement took place during the 1960s to the 1980s and the focus was primarily women fighting for the right for equality and the fight against oppression from male authority. It allowed for society to view women in a different light. They were viewed as people who were able to have a voice in political roles, increase in socioeconomic stances, and in the overall culture.
Watch the video which helps explain the effects of this movement
This link can't be embedded.
Jazz Music Affect on WLM
Jazz music provided an outlet for the women’s rebellion. This genre also provided jobs for women in the music industries as well as opening up the the consumer market for music with the help of women.
Flappers Taking Over
These women were considered to be ones who embrace a lifestyle of immoral actions, wrong-doing, and outrageous. Now they are thought of as the first wave of independent women who pushed barriers and were a symbol for a fight against political and sexual oppression as well as the barriers of economics.
History of the Flappers
History Brief: 1920s Flappers
For teaching resources covering this material, check out our workbook: A brief video explaining who the flappers were and what they were like. Transcript: Women were experiencing a new sense of freedom and independence in the 1920s. Who were these women? How did they express this newfound freedom? Women had gained the right to vote in 1920 with the passage of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. This amendment seemed to usher in the new decade. A decade in which a new breed of liberated, modern woman became one of the most celebrated icons of the era. The new woman became known as a “flapper”. Flappers were young women who abandoned the traditional Victorian-era values of their parents and grandparents. The word “flapper” came from the United Kingdom. It was a slang term for an impetuous teenage girl. Flappers were known for a distinctive appearance and manner of dress. They cut their hair short, wearing a haircut known as a bobbed cut. They also wore straight, loose-fitting dresses with bare arms and low necklines. The dress length usually stopped just below the knee. At the time, such a short dress or skirt would have been considered risqué. This allowed the young women to perform new dance steps such as the Charleston or the Shimmy. When dancing, the length of their dresses would allow for an occasional glimpse of the bare knees, which would have been scandalous just a decade before. Large amounts of jewelry was also part of the flapper costume. Several layers of beaded necklaces, pins, rings, and broaches were all common. Flappers typically wore large amounts of makeup, including lipstick, eye-liner, and blush. Makeup became increasingly more common throughout the decade as manufacturers continued to make a wider variety of cosmetics. Stockings also went out of fashion, and many older women were shocked when they saw young flappers out in public with bare legs. However, being a flapper was more than just a choice of clothing and jewelry, it was a way of life. The flappers engaged in many different types of behavior that, at the time, were not deemed as lady-like. They rode bicycles, they drove automobiles, they listened to jazz music, smoked cigarettes, drank alcohol, and danced. There were many slang terms that became associated with the flapper culture. Terms such as “the bee’s knees”, “the cat’s pajamas”, and “that’s so Jake” were all known to mean “fantastic!”. “The big cheese” might be used to describe an important person, while “broad”, “dame”, or “doll” were all used to describe a woman. Not everyone was a fan of flappers. There were many people who were outspoken against them, and felt that they were ruining the nation. Some critics felt that their style of dress was not only improper, but “near nakedness”. They were often criticized as being flippant, unintelligent, and reckless.
The Flapper.png
Jazz and Dancing
Flappers were experiencing new ways to express themselves as well as different ways to dance. Jazz music during this time allowed for the women to show off new dances that were becoming the rave.
Women’s Fashion Influence
Women’s outfits began to change in shape and practicality when the Jazz genre hit the streets. The dresses started to resemble the undergarments that were traditionally wore under the Victorian style dresses. However, these new dresses had no shape, no waist, and no sleeves which allowed for the women to have any desired movement to dance. These new style was most popular during the younger generations.
Jazz, Fashion, and Liberation
Men’s Fashion Influence
This was also a time that fashion changed for men. Since women were experiencing a full load of changes in all aspects of life, it was inevitable for the changes to spread to the male sex. The outfits that were popular for the men would consist of: 3-piece suits, narrow strip dress shirts, long overcoats, hats, neckties, and pullover sweaters.
Music and Fashion
Jazz and fashion go together because it provides a visual and tangible example of an experience that we can live through repeatedly. The fashion industry at that time changed to allow for the free movement that the dances need to preform accurately; this also included hair fashion as well. Women changed their hairstyle to a short bob and for men wore a slick back style to insure that nothing would break free during a lively dance.

Want to print your doc?
This is not the way.
Try clicking the ⋯ next to your doc name or using a keyboard shortcut (
) instead.