Flapper Era Beauties In Revealing Bathing Suits

Florida bathing beauties in Columbia six sport, 1923

Flappers were a generation of young Western women in the 1920s who wore short skirts, bobbed their hair, listened to jazz, and flaunted their disdain for what was then considered acceptable behavior. Flappers were seen as brash for wearing excessive makeup, drinking, treating sex in a casual manner, smoking, driving automobiles, and otherwise flouting social and sexual norms.

[Young woman in bathing suit with small dog in front of studio backdrop of beach, 1913
Young woman in bathing suit with small dog in front of studio backdrop of beach, 1913
Flappers had their origins in the liberal period of the Roaring Twenties, the social, political turbulence and increased transatlantic cultural exchange that followed the end of World War I, as well as the export of American jazz culture to Europe.

 Bathing beauties, Atlantic City, New Jersey, 1890.
Bathing beauties, Atlantic City, New Jersey, 1890.
 Bathing beach beauties 1920
Bathing beach beauties 1920
 New York bathing beauties at Atlantic city carnival, 1922
New York bathing beauties at Atlantic city carnival, 1922

The slang word “flapper”, describing a young woman, is sometimes supposed to refer to a young bird flapping its wings while learning to fly. However, it may derive from an earlier use in northern England to mean “teenage girl”, referring to one whose hair is not yet put up and whose plaited pigtail “flapped” on her back.

 Bathing beauties pose on automobile near Washington, DC , 1919
Bathing beauties pose on automobile near Washington, DC , 1919
 Bathing beauties on beach at Atlantic City New Jersey in 1893
Bathing beauties on beach at Atlantic City New Jersey in 1893

 

Seven Mack Sennett bathing beauties standing around a car, circa 1920
Seven Mack Sennett bathing beauties standing around a car, circa 1920

The slang word “flapper”, describing a young woman, is sometimes supposed to refer to a young bird flapping its wings while learning to fly. However, it may derive from an earlier use in northern England to mean “teenage girl”, referring to one whose hair is not yet put up and whose plaited pigtail “flapped” on her back; or from an older word meaning “prostitute”.

The slang word “flap” was used for a young prostitute as early as 1631. By the 1890s, the word “flapper” was emerging in England as popular slang both for a very young prostitute, and in a more general – and less derogatory sense – of any lively mid-teenage girl.

 Florida bathing beauties in Columbia six sport, 1923
Florida bathing beauties in Columbia six sport, 1923

 

 Beauties dancing on the beach, 1923
Beauties dancing on the beach, 1923