Hist 225 Sec. 0009
April 10, 2018
This work complies with the JMU Honor Code
New Womanhood vs. Old Womanhood
The Jazz Age, a time between the end of World War I and before the Great Depression, marked a new thought process for the average American citizen. For the first time in history it was a time when Americans would spend more money then they saved, and it also marked the beginning of celebrity culture and new race relations. For women, this marked a time when they began to go against the ideas of the old Victorian Woman. They started to develop their own freedoms for themselves such as new personal freedoms, social freedom and economic freedom, along with the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment, giving women the right to vote. The Jazz Age sparked the creation of the New Women. During this time, women tended to go against the Cult of Domesticity especially by becoming less dependent on men and no longer staying at home to solely take care of the children.
During the Victorian Era, it was very rare for a woman to pursue a career in which it would require her to leave the house after she has already started a family. However, in the age of the New Women, more women were starting to pursue careers that were previously male dominant. In “Bird Girl,” written by Vivien R. Bretherton, she tells the story of a female pilot named Vandy Cameron and the story of the first time she met Brian Scott, another pilot. Bretherton writes, “If Vandy had been a boy she would have been, by the time Brian Scott encountered her, one of the bird men of her generation. As it was, she knew as much about aeroplanes as her father, who made them… She could read a meteorology map as expertly as she could follow the newest dance step” (pg. 272.) Brian was surprised to find a female who knew all that information about airplanes because it was a field that women were usually not educated in. For Vandy and her father, it wasn’t a new idea however. They had embraced the idea of the New Woman and the idea that women could pursue new career interest. In “Confessions of a Wage-Earning Wife” by Jane Littell, she states “It really means that I, the wife, am to be the breadwinner for some time to come. A reversal of the usual domestic situation, true, but one that, under the circumstances, I am happy to be able to a party too” (pg. 1.) After having her husband resign from his job, Jane had no problem becoming the primary wage earner for the house. She was glad to do so if it meant helping out. During the Jazz Age, women were given the freedom to explore new fields and activities because they were no longer expected to stay at home and care for the children...