Spanking the flapper

11Dec09
Flappers

The racy 1920s behaviour in the bottom picture often led to the action taken in the top image

In the post (first world) war period women were freer than they ever had been before but not everyone approved of their ‘wild’ behaviour. These women became known as Flappers. Here is an encyclopaedia definition of a Flapper.

The term flapper in the 1920s referred to a ‘new breed’ of young women who wore short skirts, bobbed their hair, listened to jazz, and flaunted their disdain for what was then considered acceptable behaviour. 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. Flappers had their origins in the period of liberalism, social and political turbulence and increased transatlantic cultural exchange that followed the end of the First World War, as well as the export of American jazz culture to Europe. The first appearance of the word and image in the United States came from the popular 1920 Frances Marion movie, The Flapper, starring Olive Thomas. Thomas had starred in a similar role in 1917, though it was not until The Flapper that the term was used. In her final movies she was seen in the flapper image. Other actresses, such as Clara Bow, Louise Brooks, Colleen Moore and Joan Crawford would soon build their careers on the same image, achieving great popularity.

In the United States, popular contempt for Prohibition was a factor in the rise of the flapper. With legal saloons and cabarets closed, back alley speakeasies became prolific and popular. This discrepancy between the law-abiding, religion-based temperance movement and the actual ubiquitous consumption of alcohol led to widespread disdain for authority. Flapper independence may also have its origins in the Gibson girls of the 1890s. Although that pre-war look does not resemble the flapper identity, their independence and feminism may have led to the flapper wisecracking tenacity 30 years later.

In a pre-feminist age, the feisty and rebellious Flapper was a direct challenge to old fashion values in North America and Western Europe. Articles in family magazines such as ‘Should Flappers be spanked’ were not at all unusual.

Flappers were even too rich for Al Capone, who said that any daughter of his who became a Flapper could expect “the strap on her bare bottom.”

This was the view expressed by many.

A 23-year-old Jane Harrington wrote to the New Yorker in 1928 complaining that it was fine for Joan Crawford to be an independent girl about town but she did not have a mother with a hairbrush waiting for her when she got home.

“It has gotten that I dare only venture out in the evening once or twice a week because on my return there is dear old Ma wielding her brush like the sword of justice, the target being my bare behind. I am writing this note now sitting gingerly on a cushion.” She adds. “Its not that I won’t stand up to Ma (pun intended?) but if she adds to my sitting woes while I still have bruises from the last spanking then it rather takes the fun of a night on the town.”

Forsaking all others

Joan Crawford is about to get her first spanking from Clark Gable, but her friend thinks that the wire brush is too harsh

Joan Crawford was not immune from a spanking herself. In her youth she specialised in rebellious Flapper types brought to heal by the loving hero. In ‘Forsaking All Others’ she gets not one, but two spankings from Clark Gable, one to bring her to her senses and the other at her own request to say sorry. The second is off screen.

In 1926, Mrs Graham, also of New York, expressed a strong opinion that any unmarried daughters had better behave as she too had a hairbrush for their bare bottoms.

“Only last week I caught my 26-year-old daughter coming home with the milk. She had on skirts that were far too short for her and she knew it. I had spanked her sister only the week before for wearing similar attire. She will not forget the spanking she got in a hurry and when I spank I spank hard. If she eats off the mantle every day until she marries then so be it.”

It wasn’t only unmarried daughters on the receiving end. In 1924 Jack Seagrove of Maine found himself the subject of a news report after he spanked his wife for ‘acting like a flapper.’ It seems he did not like her style of dress and spanked her on her own front porch and the neighbours called the police. No charges were brought and the local police chief said, “If all men of the county made such a stand then there would be less law breakers.”

It wasn’t only in a America that Flappers provoked such a response.

In Manchester, England, in 1929 Mr Charles B wrote to his local newspaper to denounce the “latest American fashion for scandalous clothes and behaviour.”

“I have spanked and strapped all three of my daughters for acting loosely before now. Only last week all three of them went over the kitchen table one by one until they much regretted to defy me. If they have no care for modesty before others then they can take it on the bare until they mind their manners.”

Another report in 1927 was that traditional families in Berlin were resorting to old-fashioned methods to prevent their daughters associating with degenerates in the cities nightclubs.

One woman said that she had to drag her daughter Helga from such a club and when she got her home she stripped her and held her down for a whipping with the implement that her mother had used on her while growing up.

A translation has her saying: “I never thought that I would do it because I hated it when Ma-ma beat me so when I was a young woman. But my Helga has been seen with She-men and other homosexuals drinking and she does not deny it. She says that I am old fashioned. Well I am quite determined to show her how old-fashioned by whipping her bare backside every day until she sees she is wrong.”

One wonders if she was that decadent then perhaps she enjoyed it.



8 Responses to “Spanking the flapper”

  1. 1 Tanner

    A great piece of research. Thanks be to Chross for calling this site to my attention.
    Maybe no coincidence that the Flapper era closely proceeded the golden age of spankings in movies. And agree that likely more than one flapper got her “step-ins'(slang for panties in 20s) warmed and/or lowered for a spanking.
    Mention of their dress styles also calls to mind that 1920s was when “modern” swimwear for women came into existence. Although superconservative by today’s styles, it caused a scandal at the time and women were actually arrested for wearing it to the beach. There is a famous picture of a young woman in Chicago being dragged off by the police for wearing a suit like that.
    Female fashions in relation to spanking is a big interest of mine. Maybe there is something out there from the post WWII era when bikinis and short shorts appeared where a young lady got a “tanning” pf another sort.In the 50s(when a pop song called “Short Shorts” hit the charts, corporal punishment was still widely accepted.
    Like a said, flapper piece great. Be wonderful if you could come up with one from the 60s, where its a braless, pot-smoking “hippie chick” that gets a spanking.

  2. Yes those ‘flapper day’ were something to behold. and I would have love to raise those naughty dressess of those 1920’s erring ladies, and taken down their bloomers, and spanked their bare bottoms with a birchrod, or cane. I am sure, their cries of pain emerging from their bare bottoms, would have been music to my ears. Yes beautiful music I am sure.

  3. 4 Renton

    Hot damn. If this is real, outstanding research. If it’s fiction, then it’s some very convincing and entertaining writing.

    Assuming this is research, do you know where I can find some of those quotes? I love finding references to spanking in old documents and newspapers, especially when the recipients are older.

    • 5 DJ

      Hi Renton,

      As far as I know this is all true.

      Most of it has been culled from places as diverse as the Library of Congress, Google reader and old cuttings from a Boston Newspaper. There is a well known article entitled ‘Should Flappers be spanked?’ for instance.

      Some of the material (was taken from a now defunct blog called A Taste of Birch) and more still from a forum which so far I haven’t been able to find again (which may have gone) – Network 54 – I think.

      there is at least one more flapper article on this blog that is better sourced

      Thanks DJ

      • 6 Renton

        Very impressive. It makes me wonder how prevalent spanking of 20-somethings was in the 1920’s, or if the flapper craze simply made parents have to take a stand. 🙂

  4. 7 william allman

    there ere quiet a few movies that had spanking scences in them

    mcclintock john wayne movie excuse the spelling of the movie check the computer for right spelling
    matter of fact there were 2 spankings scenes in the movie

    another wayne movie was true grit glen campbell spanked the girl in that movie

    I am trying to think of other movies with spanking in them

    please write when you can

    William

    williamallman96@gmail.com


  1. 1 chross.blogt.ch - Chross Guide To The Spanking Internet

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