Here is an entirely unsympathetic Time Magazine review of the 1922 film, Flaming Youth starring Colleen Moore and Milton Sills. The uncredited reviewer really wasn't buying any of it and was not at all impressed with the morality of Flappers. Today, Flaming Youth has deteriorated to just just a few feet of film and rests in the vaults of the Library of Congress; the reviewer probably would be pleased to know that.
If nothing else, this verbiage simply spells out that the editors took themselves very, very seriously indeed and it was in that same spirit they gleefully went to work disemboweling a movie that they saw as anti-flapper to its very core. The film in question was
Nice People (Paramount, 1922) starring Bebe Daniels and Wallace Reid. Produced by Willam C. deMille (1878 – 1955), elder brother of Cecil, the film makers were clearly intimating that "nice people" will always keep their flapper daughters in line; it is at that point in the flick when the reviewer dipped her pen in the ink:
"This is one of the themes that 'old fogies' usually delight in; the 'reformation' of the flapper... The picture is replete with pithy subtitles, such as 'the smart girl of today removes the rouge from her lips only to kiss and make up.'"
Perhaps the above headline gives a wee-bit too much credit to the flappers for changing the sex codes of North America - but it certainly would never have happened without them. They were one of the necessary elements, in addition to motion pictures, recorded music, automobiles and greater job opportunities for women, that, when mixed together created a new social contract. The attached article spells it all out as to how the flappers of the 1920s had "stripped the female body of its Victorian wrappings and proudly displayed it in the sunlight".
A smattering of cartoons depicting those sweet young things of yore who were partial to bathtub gin, short skirts and
short hair styles.
In 1919 you didn't have to be plugged-in 24/7 to the youth scene in order to recognize that bobbed hair was where the fickle finger of fashion was pointing. Perhaps the editors of VANITY FAIR presumed that a "bobbed hair party" was the best social alternative that could have been offered six months after the 1919 passage of the 18th Amendment, which ushered in the Prohibition of alcohol throughout the United States.