The arrival of ‘new women’
1912 was a big year for the United States: not only was milk’s favorite cookie introduced (Oreo’s of course!) but the large, luxurious Titanic sank on her maiden voyage to New York City. That summer is where we find Bernice Harvey stuck in St. Paul, Minnesota with her socialite of a cousin, Marjorie. The 1910’s was an exciting time for young women. The 20’s were about to hit which would revolutionize the way women were viewed forever. Let’s take a closer look at the brink of the jazz age.
In the 1910s, women were expected to stay at home, raise the children and support their hardworking husbands. Traditional values of staying at home were widely accepted until the beginning of the first world war.
World War I started in 1914 and the United States did not enter the war until 1917. When the U.S. entered the war, that meant young men were enlisted and sent away to fight. Since women were home alone, they began to form free thinking ideas and enter the workforce to pick up slack since their husbands were away. With these ideas stirring in the minds of women, thoughts about voting and acquiring an education also occurred.
All of these changes in women’s lives led to the social revolution that occurred in the 20’s. The 19th amendment was passed allowing women the right to vote. Women began working in mills, as clerical workers in offices and retail workers in department stores. Many women sought an education and pressured universities to allow female students. And, of course, the most notable trend of the 20s was the creation of the “new breed” of women- the flapper. Flappers were vivacious young women with bobbed hair, scandalous clothing and a longing to break the rules. These women formed out of the changing hearts and minds of the women in the 1910s.
Many of these social changes begin to form in BERNICE BOBS HER HAIR. We watch as Mr. and Mrs. Harvey comment on women voting, stating that women are “only going to vote how their husbands tell them to anyway. Twice as many votes. Same result.” Marjorie takes on many of the early roles presented by flappers, becoming flirtatious and pushing acceptable boundaries. Bernice contemplates becoming “a society vampire” and undergoing a major fashion change just to fit in, a change that would not become socially acceptable for a couple years. Will the characters begin to cave to the social norms of the 20s or will they hold their own and fight for traditional roles? Come see how it unfolds in BERNICE BOBS HER HAIR!
Other fun facts about the 1910s include:
-In 1910, 46 states had acquired statehood. New Mexico and Arizona were added
to the U.S. in 1912.
-Oklahoma’s own Jim Thorpe won gold medals in the pentathlon and decathlon
during Olympic Games of 1912.
-Girl Scouts of America was founded in Savannah, GA.