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America's History in the Making

Resource Archive: Search Results

The Girl Who Gave Him the Cold Shoulder

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John Held, Jr., THE GIRL WHO GAVE HIM THE COLD SHOULDER (1923). Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Creator John Held, Jr.
Context The changing representation of women in art during the 1920s
Audience Readers of Life magazine
Purpose To illustrate how artists depicted women's changing role in American culture

Historical Significance

John Held's art popularized and epitomized the flapper look and lifestyle of the 1920s--not only in Life magazine, but also in the New Yorker and Harper's Bazaar. The "flapper" represented a young woman who revolted against societal expectations of proper behavior for women through such actions as wearing short skirts, listening to jazz music, drinking hard liquor, and smoking tobacco. Held's depiction of a carefree, slender woman who interacted with men in a direct and flirtatious way differed from the idealized and romanticized portrayal of the American woman found in the previous generation's Gibson Girl.

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