The Modern Day Flapper — Women and Their “Adorable-If-They-Want-It-To-Be” Power



BY SAVANNAH NORRIS

Women are expected to uphold unattainable standards. They should be pure. Their waists should be tiny; their figures enticing. Women should be kind and considerate, all while being adorably powerful. It’s unbelievably contradictory, and to put it bluntly, it’s 2016. Women are not adorably powerful; they are powerful, and just as the flappers were in the ‘20s, utterly apathetic toward societal constraints.

While women display leadership and capability innately now, it wasn’t always this way. Women used to helplessly wait for a husband to marry. They raised children and didn’t dare independently make decisions. However, when WWI ended, and many young men did not make it home, women were deprived a male ego to stroke and rely on. Emerging from the shock and lingering gun smoke was the flapper — a curious, suitorless woman ready to woo her own way through life.

Though the flapper lifestyle may have died with the ‘20s, the impact did not. Long gone are the days of corsets, long hemlines and chauffeurs. Thanks to flappers, self-sufficiency became a familiar scent. Yet still, the suburban-mom lifestyle did return, and women shackled themselves to its role, willingly marrying, having children and surrendering to receptionist-esque jobs. However, it didn’t take a war this time to declare independence. The once short-lived flapper fad is here to stay.

Women today are seizing opportunities and upholding power like never before. They are managing businesses, redefining marriage, dying their hair, tattooing and piercing their bodies and ultimately ruling the world. However, this self-expressional throne bears both honor and burden. Instead of praise for progress, many women are receiving discrimination and hate, especially in the workforce.

While younger generations seem to have no real issues with tattoos, piercings or hair dye, asserting that the body is just a canvas for expressing who you are and what you like freely, older generations generally seem to view this self-expression a bit differently. Maybe it’s the experience in this judgmental world, or maybe it’s just the upbringing of an older generation, but it seems this group knows and does not desire the hardships associated with tattoos, piercings and hair dye when searching for jobs.

Many businesses want employees to adhere to dress code policies, most of which discourage extreme hair dyes and include covering any tattoos and piercings. While many look at this policy as discrimination, it is important to note that choices such as septum piercings are also simply outfit accessories — ones that might not reflect the image or market of the company, so don’t take it personally.

Piercings and tattoos can be very tasteful expressions of creativity, but it can be difficult for a company to define tasteful, just as it might be difficult to define what jeans are and aren’t appropriate to wear to school. Emerging from indescribable, complex issues are safe, blanket statement codes, such as “absolutely no holes in jeans above the knee,” and more germane, “no tattoos, no piercings, no hair dye.”

This very finely danced line does create issues while searching for a job, though it’s not always discrimination. The market of the company and your market image might not be the perfect match, but the uniform version of you might be. Appearances are a big deciding factor in the hiring process, and companies want you to look the part, just like everybody else they hire, tattooed or not.

Marketing is based largely on public opinion. A company targets a buyer and tries to figure out what sales associates and what image will likely catch that target’s interest. Unfortunately, some target buyers don’t like the image of unnatural hair dye and piercings; they like khakis and blazers. However, with more and more expressive and creative people in the world, the modern opinion is evolving and, eventually, so will some of those target markets (in fact, they already have!).

Despite the generational gap, both groups came to the same consensus — individuals need to be kind to and support one another, blonde or green haired. It is important to praise women for societal milestones to encourage them to live powerful, independent lives as the modern day flapper.


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