AS THE WORLD GROWS INCREASINGLY COSMOPOLITAN:A COMPARATIVE AND TRANSNATIONAL ANALYSIS OF GENDER ANDMODERNITY IN EAST ASIA AND NORTH AMERICA DURING THE JAZZ AGE.A THESIS SUBMITTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOLIN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREEMASTER OF ARTSBYJASON U. ROSEDR. JAMES CONNOLLY - ADVISORBALL STATE UNIVERSITY MUNCIE, INDIANADECEMBER 2017
iTABLE OF CONTENTSACKNOWLEDGEMENTS . .INTRO:iv“I’M A FREE-BORN AMERICAN, AND CAN SHOW WHAT IPLEASE”: MODERN GIRL SELF-PERCEPTION, PUBLIC-OPINION,AND POLITICS DURING THE JAZZ AGE. . . . .1METHODOLOGICAL APPROACH 4LITERATURE REVIEW . . .5PRIMARY SOURCE EVIDENCE . . .8SO WHY COMPARATIVE, TRANSNATIONAL, ANDCOSMOPOLITAN? .CHAPTER I:9“IN THE BEGINNING, WOMAN WAS THE SUN, AN AUTHENTICPERSON:” UNDERSTANDING THE SOCIO-POLITICAL ANDCULTURAL ENVIRONMENT CONCERNING WOMEN IN EAST ASIAAND THE U.S . . 13A BRIEF INTRODUCTION OF WOMEN’S RIGHTS IN NORTHAMERICA . . .13A BRIEF INTRODUCTION OF WOMEN’S RIGHTS IN CHINA .23A BRIEF INTRODUCTION ON CLASS AND WOMEN’S RIGHTSIN JAPAN .29CONCLUSION . . 33
iiCHAPTER II:“OLD FOGIES WILL READ THIS MAGAZINE AT THEIR PERIL:”35THE AMERICAN FLAPPER AS MILITANT .DEFINING THE FLAPPER AESTHETIC AS ART. . 38PHYSICALITY AND PUBLIC INTERACTION BETWEEN MALESCHAPTER III:AND FEMALES . . .40RATIONAL CLOTHING AS SYMBOLS OF FREEDOM . .43EVE, THE FIRST FLAPPER WOMAN . .45THE FLAPPER AS HISTORICAL ACTIVIST WOMEN 47THE FLAPPER AS MILITANT . 49CONCLUSION . . 54“ALL THE SLEEPING WOMEN, ARE NOW AWAKE AND MOVING”:THE MODENG XIAOJIE AND MOGA AS SYMBOLS OFMODERNITY. 56SELF-FASHION AND IDENTITY IN CHINA AND JAPAN . .58PUBLIC SPACES AND THE MOGA AND THE MODENGCHAPTER IV:XIAOJIE .64WOMEN’S AUTONOMY AND PHYSICALITY IN EAST ASIA .69CONCLUSION . . 74“I AM HAPPY TO BE A JAPANESE FLAPPER”: UNDERSTANDINGTHE MODERN GIRL FROM A COSMOPOLITAN ANDTRANSNATIONAL PERSPECTIVE . .76THE FLAPPER AND THE INTERNATIONAL . .77MAINSTREAM INTEREST IN THE INTERNATIONAL FLAPPER. 83THE AMERICAN FLAPPER AND RACIAL MASQUERADE . .89
iiiCONCLUSION .CONCLUSION:94“AT THE END OF EVERY YARN THERE’S ALWAYS A LITTLEBULL” . . 95 106BIBLIOGRAPHY 118IMAGES
ivACKNOWLEDGMENTSIt is a pleasure to thank those who have helped me in the long endeavor of researching andwriting this thesis. My greatest debt is to Jim Connolly, my advisor, who helped me to conceptualize theproject and guided the research. My research benefited immeasurably from his careful readings of draftsand meaningful insights and suggestions. I am obliged to my other committee members, ElizabethLawrence and Sergei Zhuk, for their questions, critiques, support, and, most of all, patience. I have alsoreceived humbling amount of encouragement and counsel from my past professors at Ball StateUniversity, Indiana University South Bend, Goshen College, and Ivy Tech Community College, whohave given me invaluable insights into the historical profession.I could not have undertaken this project without the expert help from librarians and archivists atBall State University and the Center for Middletown Studies. I also received additional support from theBilly Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum at The Ohio State University, Michigan State UniversityLibrary system, The University of Chicago Library, Newberry Library, Cook County Public Library, andthe Franklin D. Schurz Library at Indiana University South Bend. An extra special thanks goes to StefanieHunker at Bowling Green State University’s Browne Popular Culture Library, who was always quick toassist, whether in person or via email.I was fortunate to receive the financial support from Ball State University and research grantsfrom Indiana University South Bend which enabled my travel and research. A debt of thanks goes to myfriends and family, who in a pinch have read significant portions of my thesis. Finally, thanks to my wifeand my family. Their unending patience, unwavering support, and unfailing encouragement during thistime-consuming process helped to make it all possible. I am forever indebted.
1Introduction:“I’m a free-born American, and can show what I please”:Modern Girl Self-Perception, Public-Opinion, and Politics during the Jazz AgeIt was a cooler than usual evening in Somerset, Pennsylvania, on August 24, 1923. There wasgrowing unrest among local parents because they feared that, “bobbed hair, lip-stick” wearing flapperswere becoming too influential to the local youth. During a Parent Teacher Association (PTA) meeting,tempers began to boil as the parents petitioned the School Board to ban, “silk stockings, short skirts,bobbed hair, and low neck, sleeveless dresses.” The people who stood firmly in opposition to the“Modern Girl” aesthetic and lifestyle were not bashful about their disdain for these youths. The localflappers learned about the meeting and while the meeting was in progress, the flappers “stormed” in andgave a “short and snappy” verbal remonstration, “delivered in rhyme.” Community members, parents,teachers, and board members looked on as these “New Women” began to chant in unison:I can show my shouldersI can show my knees:I'm a free-born American,and can show what I please.After the completion of their rhyme, and the successful disruption of the meeting, the flappers left thechamber room. Following their departure, the local media reported that the “Parent Teachers session wasturned into an indignation meeting.” The PTA then voted and “demanded” that the School Board supporttheir position against the flappers. 1 The Parent Teachers Association petition was not unusual, andhistorians have devoted considerable attention to these kinds of complaints. The responses of flappers,however, require closer attention.While this small story contains numerous points that could be analyzed, our story will begin withthe moment those flappers entered the meeting room. When some local flappers heard about the event,they made the decision to attend. This story shows that flappers were not merely superficial consumers,but actively advancing an agenda. In this instance, the flapper’s actions were overtly political as they were1“Flappers Resent Move for Regulation Dress: Storm Meeting Of Somerset (Pa.) Parents and Teachers and Deliver Ultimatum inRhyme,” New York Times, August 25, 1923; “The Weather,” New York Times, August 25, 1923.
2active participants. They chose to attend and chant during the meeting. Their clothing demonstrated theirfreedom of choice as they opted to respond dressed as flappers. Indirectly, it could be argued that theflappers’ actions gave the concerned people attending enough ammunition to push back, allowing thepeople who proposed the ban to shut down the debate.Frequently, the historiography of flappers looks at the Somerset PTA’s actions or other antimodernist backlashes, dismissing the flapper attendees. Yet, if flappers were merely creatures of frivolity,why did they choose to respond at all? Why did the flappers demonstrate their politics through theirchoice of clothing and self-fashion? Why was the method of their self-expression important? What was atstake? The flappers’ self-fashion and their critics’ reactions to that expression exposed the world in whichthey lived. The story reveals the new zeitgeist and the backlash against a new world where women gainedaccess to power in different spheres. It also demonstrates that in some capacities, such as consumption,flappers could be criticized by what would seem like natural feminist allies, such as advocates ofeducation for women. In addition, this story, and the story of other flappers, challenges some dominantviews of consumption and capitalism during the 1920s and even today.The Modern Girl, while not as overtly political as her New Woman foremothers, sought her ownversion of emancipation by the blurring of class and gender roles. 2 This tactic was evident in theirconsumption of traditionally male products, such as alcohol and tobacco, their use of fashion, whichincluded male attire at times, and their claiming of public spaces, such as jazz clubs and cafes for theirown purposes. The flapper sought self-definition and agency through consumption even within theconfines of a nearly universal, and global, aesthetic. 3 Flappers used cosmetics, fashion, and publicdisplays to create a uniform, one that was so successful that Modern Girls were easy to identify and2Although in Japan, as Miriam Silverberg has correctly noted, the Moga maintained “militancy” due to the rapid rise of a morebelligerent nationalism, which viewed the Moga as a threat to the traditional role of women as “good wife, wise mother.” Thiscreated an environment where Modern Girl activism could easily cost them their lives (a prominent example will be noted inChapter 1). This was not the case in semi-colonial China as the imperialist nations protected the people to a degree within its areaof influence to help maintain control. This was also not true in the United States. Although flappers in the United Statesexperienced some opposition from groups like the Klan, this was fundamentally different from governmental suppression. It wasalso different than the usurpation of Modern Girl characteristics, such as athletics, that were deemed beneficial in Nazi Germany.The most notable example of this trend was the idea that a woman athlete would be a strong mother that produced healthy babies.3Joshua Zeitz, Flapper: A Madcap Story of Sex, Style, Celebrity, and the Women Who Made America Modern (New York City:Three Rivers Press, 2007), 9, 69, 291.
3highly recognizable. 4 She was also an international figure and the Modern Girl had a variety of namesaround the world: moga in Japan, kallege ladki in India, Germany’s neue Frauen, garçonnes in France,China's modeng xiaojie, NEPkas in the Soviet Union, flapperista or la chica moderna in Latin America,and flappers in Australia, Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom. 5 This thesis argues that,although most interpretations of the Modern Girl focus on her frivolity, these women expressed a politicalvision through their consumption, style, and behavior, a vision that contained a cosmopolitan component.The political aspect of the Modern Girl style contained three interrelated and integral componentsthat built off each other. The first part of this thesis details how the Modern Girl style, contra someinterpretations that emphasize its frivolity, contained a political element that was expressed throughaesthetics and their lifestyles. 6 Although in many ways modern girls were social constructs andcomponents of cultural imagination, they were also social and cultural realities who were no less militantthan the New Woman in their actual politics. 7 The Modern Girl style was political in the sense that theirconsumption had implications for questions of power and gender.While no less important, the second part of this thesis builds off previous researchers who argue thatthe Modern Girl as a political aesthetic was global in scope. The Modern Girl was a transnationalphenomenon in which influences flowed from both west to east and vice versa. Earlier interpreters, especiallyin East Asia, depicted Modern Girls and their fashions as a largely thoughtless adoption of Western stylesand a product of colonialism. A similar criticism was levied against the American flapper, but was directedagainst European fashion designers. This thesis stands alongside recent scholarship that sees agency inconsumption and sees the Modern Girl actively engaging with internal debates about gender and power inChina and Japan. It also tries to expand the argument that there were clear indications of regional adaptationsof flapper aesthetic and lifestyles, at least within the East Asian context.4Alys Eve Weinbaum, Lynn M. Thomas, Priti Ramamurthy, Uta G. Poiger, Madeleine Yue Dong, and Tani E. Barlow. “TheModern Girl as Heuristic Device: Collaboration, Connective Comparison, Multidirectional Citation” in The Modern Girl Aroundthe World: Consumption, Modernity, and Globalization Alys Eve Weinbaum et al ed. (Durham: NC, Duke University Press,2008), 1, 11.5Alys Eve Weinbaum et al., “The Modern Girl as Heuristic Device,” 1-2.6This literature will be explored more fully later in the introduction.7This would also be true for the earlier New Women.
4The final, and maybe most debatable, aspect of the thesis argues that the politics advanced by theModern Girl had a cosmopolitan or transnational element. This was particularly true in the U.S. where itchallenged the nativism that intensified during the 1920s and was largely missed in older scholarship on theAmerican flapper. The Modern Girl challenge to ethnocentrism was evident in other areas of the world,especially in Japan and Germany, where hyper-nationalism assimilated certain aspects of the Modern Girl,while actively fighting other aspects. This tension can be seen in the promotion of athletic women,something tied to the Modern Girl aesthetic, while trying to limit female autonomy and political activism.Flapper’s interest in international, or alien culture, as well as actively seeking it out at times was a sign of“actually existing cosmopolitanism” —the idea that cosmopolitanism does not require total abandonment ofnational culture and identity. 8 This key element of the Modern Girl was frequently overlooked, and was trueto modern girls everywhere. Whether in the countries, regions and cities outlined in this thesis, or in India,Berlin, London, and Latin America, there was a desire to be viewed as worldly, a truly moderncosmopolitan. Modern Girls portraying themselves as cosmopolitan was a striking and controversialpolitical statement, in and of itself, during a time of virulent hyper-nationalism.Methodological ApproachThis thesis will argue for the political dimensions of the Modern Girl aesthetic by exploringdepictions of flappers and other modern girls in both the United States and East Asia, analyzing themthrough three differing, but often recurring themes autonomy, the use of physicality, often in public spaces,and identity, including national, regional, and subcultural identities. Within the U.S. there were debatesover the flapper aesthetic as an art form as well as its political nature. Each of the themes above has overtand covert political ramifications for the Modern Girl in their historical settings. While still a contentiousissue in the U.S. during the Jazz Age, physicality and public spaces in general was less provocative as theNew Woman fought for these rights for over a half-century. The thesis analyzes publications thatrepresented themselves as the voice of the Modern Girl or expressed sympathy for them. In doing so, it8This concept, coined by Bruce Robbins in the introduction to his edited volume Cosmopolitics: Thinking and Feeling beyondthe Nation (1998) and will be explained in greater detail later in the introduction.
5gives the Modern Girl or her self-appointed spokespersons a voice in the cultural debates about theircharacter and identity, an element missing in much of the research on this topic. This thesis also seeksoutside primary sources that confirm or dispute the claims of Modern Girl publications.Women's newly found freedom after the war proved to be a double-edged sword. While theModern Girl’s new lifestyles were a clear and visible mark of freedom and emancipation, it also openedwomen up to exploitation. While there was a great amount of overlap between autonomy and the ModernGirl identity as one cannot exist without the other, they were deservedly separated due to how they wereused by the Modern Girl herself and by others in defining her as a modern phenomenon. 9 The thesis willthen consider the transnational character of the Modern Girl by examining East Asian literature, with theaim of demonstrating that the questions of gender and consumption that defined the archetypal “newwoman” of the 1920s transcended national borders. Ultimately, it demonstrates that at least some moderngirls within these nations actively shaped their own image, and were far from the passive, apoliticalfigures described by their critics, and even by some scholars.Literature ReviewNumerous works have been published in recent years regarding various aspects of the ModernGirl. Earlier works concerning the Modern Girl, especially in textbook surveys, were critical and oftenviewed her as a symbol of the vacuity of the 1920s. In Captains of Consciousness, Stuart Ewen argued thatadvertisers and cultural producers assailed family life, gender relations, work habits, and fine art in aneffort to sell their largely unneeded commercial products. Ewen then argued that most women consumers,not only the Modern Girl, but every woman who used technology to enhance productivity to increaseleisure time were “merely a cog in a vastly corporatized process of production” and that “woman’s second-9In this thesis, autonomy refers to the ability of a competent individual to make relatively rationed, informed, and un-coerceddecisions. Essentially, autonomy consists of the attributes that make an individual a free acting social agent. Relatedly, agencyrefers to the ability of a capable free acting social agent to operate by their own volition. Identity reflects the qualities, beliefs,personality, and lifestyles of the individual (self-identity) or a group (cultural identity). Therefore identity refers to corecharacteristics of both individuals and groups.
6level decision-making capacity was only a euphemism for decisions made on the corporate level.” 10 Morerecent scholarship, however, has sought to demonstrate the agency of modern girls, while also exploringhow societal changes influenced them and their behavior. One of the earliest examples of this trend wasHope in a Jar by Kathy Peiss. According to Peiss, women obtained gratification, self-definition, andagency through the use of fashion and makeup and that it served as “a common language of self-expressionand self-understanding.” 11 In Flapper, Joshua Zeitz argued that flappers fit this pattern by living a modern“controversial lifestyle in a spirited attempt at self-definition” and asserting “their right to make personalchoices.” 12 These authors do not deny that the fashion industry, advertising, and mass media affectedwomen’s consumption, but they argue that beauty culture and the women who partook in it were far morecomplicated and nuanced than top-down manipulation suggests.Newer research tends to view the Modern Girl through a more transnational perspective. Olderscholars of international modern girls, especially in the Far East, typically looked at the Modern Girl assimple consumers, but with colonial influences. A prominent example of this argument would be SarahStevens, who argued that the Chinese Modern Girl’s use of English represents colonial influences whilealso stressing its “cosmopolitan nature.” Stevens then argued that English “served as an immediate visualmarker of a text’s connection to modernity.” 13 Christopher Rosenmeier noted this trend in Shanghaiauthor Shi Zhecun’s short stories, which illustrated the changing perception of the Chinese New Womenas a “symbol of female emancipation” and how the Modern Girl became “a popular icon of glamour andleisure,” and thus “competing visions of modernity.” 1410Stuart Ewen, Captains of Consciousness (New York: Basic Books, 1977), 165, 171. Ewen in later works has argued that theadvertising campaigns of Lucky Strike cigarettes were largely responsible for women’s consumption of tobacco during the JazzAge. See Stuart Ewen, PR!: A Social History of Spin (New York: Basic Books, 1996), 169-171. It should be noted that the worksof F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway have women smoking several years before advertisers targeted women as cigaretteconsumers. Fitzgerald in particular has flappers smoking in the short story “The Ice Palace” and The Great Gatsby. See F. ScottFitzgerald, “The Ice Palace” in Fitzgerald: Novels and Stories 1920-1922 edited by Jackson R. Bryer (New York: LiteraryClassics of the United States, 2000), 293-294, 300; or F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby (New York: Collier Books, 1925),119, 126.11Kathy Peiss, Hope in a Jar: The Making of America’s Beauty Culture (New York: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1998),201-202.12Zeitz, Flapper, 9, 69, 291.13Sarah E. Stevens, “Figuring Modernity: The New Woman and the Modern Girl in Republican China,” NWSA Journal 15 no. 3(Fall 2003): 84-85.14Christopher Rosenmeier, “Women Stereotypes in Shi Zhecun's Short Stories,” Modern China 37 no. 1 (January 2011): 48, 65.
7Some scholars interpreted the consumption of the Modern Girl as a means of promoting agency oras a form of gender-based rebellion. Ageeth Sluis contended that although this “incipient form oftransnational gendered capitalism” was not “empowering in a feminist sense, the world of leisure andshopping did provide working-class women with a sense of mobility, freedom, and female sociability.” 15Liz Conor argued from a similar perspective. To become modern, Conor identified three factors that wereessential for the Modern Girl: the conditions of visibility, the expanding range of representations, and howthese representations impacted feminine subjectivities. Conor’s first two factors were intrinsically andinseparably tied together. The first deals with the ways in which technology was utilized to display modernwomen, while the second factor dealt with the expanding range of representation due to the technologicalboom. Technology played a key role in the development of the conditions of visibility, such as photography,cinematography, and other forms of mass media. According to Conor, this advancement gave rise to both thepin-up model and the movie starlet. Conor’s third factor, was what she described as “modernity’s visions ofwomen” becoming a “part of women’s self-perception as modern.” This ultimately forced new “genderedperceptions [to] become embodied.” Conor went on to assert that the “feminization of youth culture probablygave younger women a greater sense of cultural inclusion and presence.” Conor concluded that this processgave flappers the mobility needed to be both a part of society, and to be viewed apart from older views ofsociety. It was by this pronounced mobility and visibility that flappers increased their agency. Although thecult of youth preceded the 1920s, it was now a “spectacle” and those who scrutinized it “only served tointensify women’s exposure and eroticism.” 16Several contemporary scholars look at the Modern Girl as a transnational phenomenon, but onethat contained strong elements of the native culture while maintaining a large degree of agency. TheModern Girl Around the World Research Group, based in Washington University, argued that the “nearsimultaneous appearances of Modern Girls around the world complicates widely accepted histories of15Ageeth Sluis, “Bataclanismo! Or, How Female Deco Bodies Transformed Postrevolutionary Mexico City” The Americas 66no. 4 (April 2010): 481.16Liz Conor, The Spectacular Modern Woman: Feminine Visibility in the 1920s (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press,2004), 7-8, 226, 231.
8commercial capitalism, consumption, and visual culture.” It also obfuscates the assumption of a very“lineal dissemination of ‘modernity’” from Western societies. 17 They further contended that the“modernity” of the Modern Girl should not be viewed from a negative or positive aspect of commodityculture, but presented the Modern Girl as self-empowered social actors who had agency. 18 The researchproduced by these groups was influential to this thesis and it is designed to build off this base.The idea that self-identity serves as a form of empowerment also echoes Michel Foucault’snotions of the “technologies of the self.” While the theory is not without its flaws, “technologies of theself” functions as a logical and reasonable lens through which one can investigate the flapper aestheticand lifestyle while maintaining the idea that people are at least partially autonomous. Foucault defined,“technologies of the self,” as those that, “permit individuals to effect by their own means or with the helpof others a certain number of operations on their own bodies and souls, thoughts, conduct, and way ofbeing, so as to transform themselves in order to attain a certain state of happiness, purity, wisdom,perfection, or immortality.” 19 This is helpful as an analytical tool because it maintains the agency that isapparent in the Modern Girl’s attempt to self-define. It also gives analytical room for certain members ofthe capitalist elite who sought to manipulate and control women’s consumption through advertisementsand other mass media portrayals.Primary Source EvidenceFor this project, primary source documentation for the American experience of flappers is frommagazines, the New York Times and the Chicago Tribune, since part of the focus of the piece is therepresentation of the Modern Girl. These various depictions will be juxtaposed against articles andstatements by flappers about how they view themselves, taken predominately from The Flapper and itssuccessor magazine The Flapper Experience, a fashion magazine based out of Chicago. This mixture ofimages and written accounts from different periodicals are insightful as they advocate and give the Modern17Alys Eve Weinbaum et al. “The Modern Girl as Heuristic Device,” 3, 12-13.Alys Eve Weinbaum et al. “The Modern Girl as Heuristic Device,” 4, 20-22.19Michel Foucault, “Technologies of the Self” in Technologies of the Self: A Seminar with Michel Foucault, ed. Luther H.Martin, Huck Gutman, and Patrick Hutton (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1988), 18.18
9Girl a voice in the dialogue. These magazines contained both overt and covert political agendas, whichgives a largely unexplored primary source to support scholars like Peiss and Zeitz, or the Modern GirlResearch Group in their beliefs concerning the Modern Girl and agency. Such a focus helps distinguishesthis project from other works that investigate the Modern Girl, but still allows it to fit within the existingliterature that examines and marries research on the Jazz Age and fin de siècle women, urbanization,consumption, and modernity.Further tying this work into the contemporary literature would be the exploration of the ModernGirl using a comparative and transnational perspective. The primary documentation used for East Asiawill be the Shanghai magazine Ling Long and Republican Chinese authors such as Ailing Zhang, ShiZhecun, and Lu Hsun (Lu Xun), as well as interwar Japanese author Junichiro Tanizaki. The work ofthese authors and the output of the magazine Ling Long illustrated both the interconnected andtransnational character of the Modern Girl as well as each individual manifestation (the comparativeaspect) of the Modern Girl that developed in a world that was becoming increasing modern. Theexamination of these primary sources will further allow the project to contribute to the larger body ofresearch concerning the Modern Girl as they are sometimes overlooked by historians that focus on imagesof the Modern Girl, or strictly her consumption of material goods. 20So Why Comparative, Transnational, and Cosmopolitan?So the question remains, what warrants a comparative and transnational study of the ModernGirl? Japanese author Junichiro Tanizaki may say it best as he opens his book on the Japanese moga,Naomi, with the phrase “as Japan grows increasingly cosmopolitan ” This statement was one of globalscope and perspective, but one that was almost understated. Japan was growing more cosmopolitan, butother countries during this time were also growing into modern nations with large cosmopolitan areas.This would include, but was not limited to, China and the United States. Each of these countries was20Additionally, most claims by these periodicals were substantiated by other periodicals or serials like the New York Times. Soalthough this approach cannot completely verify to what degree that everyday flappers believed in their arguments, it doesdemonstrate that similar views were prevalent. Due to its widespread beliefs, it gives this form of analysis more credence intrying to discern the voice of the flapper.
10leaping into modernity and shared some things in common, but they also differed significantly. China andJapan for example, had cultures lasting for centuries, while the U.S. was a relatively new nation, yet stillindebted to its Western European heritage. These nations, however, were becoming modern nations thatcontained new cosmopolitan values and foreign cultures. There were also debates about what it meant tobe a modern nation, as well as what it means to be a citizen of that nation started to become contested.Sometimes reluctantly and sometimes deliberately, many of these nations looked to each other to helpanswer these questions, i.e. there was a dialogue. 21These three nations were embarking on modernity, nearly, but not quite, at the same trajectory.Modernity as a historical category refers to a period of widespread skepticism, including the questioningor rejection of tradition; a focus on individualism, freedom, and equality, both de jure and de facto;rationalization and professionalization; a movement away from agrarianism and feudalism
turned into an indignation meeting." The PTA then voted and "demanded" that the School Board support their position against the flappers. 1 The Parent Teachers Association petition was not unusual, and historians have devoted considerable attention to these kinds of complaints. The responses of flappers, however, require closer attention.