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Battle of the 20’s: 1920 vs 2020

Written by Life & Style, Lifestyle

When we think of the 1920’s, we all picture short-haired, feather-wearing flappers, scandalous movies gracing the silver screen and Gatsby-esque parties. But before we embark on what is sure to be a year of 20’s themed parties, what do we actually know about the famous decade, and how does it stack up with today? We can only hope our 20’s are as iconic as our 20th century counterpart. 

Undoubtedly, the 1920’s were huge for film, beginning the ‘Golden Age of Hollywood’, famed for the forward thinking of the industry both in terms of technology and attitudes. Film-goers saw the introduction of sound to the pictures with the Jazz Singer in 1927, leading to the rise of the aptly-named ‘talkies’. But more than this technological revelation, censorship laws were loosening their grip on the industry and more raunchy films began hitting the screens, allowing society to be more embracing of sexuality and femininity.  

The 2020’s will no doubt see a greater expansion of inclusivity and progressive thinking, with strong female leads continuing to wave the flag for feminism

Similar to its partner 100 years previously, the 2020’s will no doubt see a greater expansion of inclusivity and progressive thinking, with strong female leads continuing to wave the flag for feminism. Films scheduled for release this year, including Black Widow and Wonder Woman 1984 will break the barriers of the ‘traditional’ masculine superheroes. Just as 1920s did, future years are set to positively redefine perceptions of women.  

The 1920’s were also a decade of iconic fashion – skirts became shorter and the notion of seeing a calf in public was no longer a cause of mass-hysteria. The ladies of the 20’s – the unforgettable ‘flapper’ – expressed their femininity through their fashion, making daring and revealing choices. This is quiet the contrast to today, with equally progressive moves in fashion, but heading in a very different direction. 

Standards and expectations have moved on and women no longer have to ‘show some skin’ to be considered sexy

Standards and expectations have moved on and women no longer have to ‘show some skin’ to be considered sexy – even in the past 10 years we’ve seen a change in this attitude which is set to continue moving into the new decade. We’ve gone full circle as the mid-length skirts which first took the scene in the 1920s are back at the height of fashion in the 2020s.  

And finally, who can forget the 1920’s outrageous reputation as the decade of decadence – partying from dusk until dawn was norm for our well-to-do ancestors. But it turns out you can have too much of a good thing. As partying reached new extremes the ‘Night-Club Bill’ of 1925 was introduced, aiming aimed to calm the ever-growing nightlife sweeping British cities.

Drinking, gambling and ‘general immorality’ were among the culprits being targeted by the Bill, which were deemed unacceptable by the authorities. But even the government recognised they were going against the grain of youth-culture, claiming to try to avoid ‘kill-joy’ legislation and not dampen the spirits of the empowered young population. The comparison to today needs no explanation. A Friday night on Bigg Market is all the evidence you need to see that some things, be it 1920’s or 2020’s, will never change.  

Last modified: 24th February 2020

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