In the glorious, boozy party that followed World War I, a new being burst defiantly onto the world stage: the flapper. Young, impetuous, and flirtatious, she was an alluring, controversial figure, celebrated in movies, fiction, plays, and the pages of fashion magazines. But, as Linda Simon argues, the flapper didn’t appear out of nowhere. Lost Girls gives us a spirited history with a fresh look at the reality of young women’s experiences in America and Britain from the 1890s to the 1920s—the era when the “modern girl” emerged.
Lost Girls is a story of youth derided and fetishized; of aging viscerally feared. It is a story of young women growing up in a culture beset by anxiety about adolescent girls. It is about women trying to shape their own identity amid contradictory theories of adolescence and sexuality, the politics of suffrage, and popular fiction, theater, cinema, and dance hall crazes. Simon shows us how the modern girl bravely created a culture, a look, and a future of her own.
Lost Girls is an illuminating history of the iconic flapper as she evolved from a problem to a temptation, and finally, in the 1920s and beyond, to an aspiration.