Bathing Suit Cartoon

Many people in the 1910s and 1920s were alarmed by the new woman phenomenon. In popular magazines throughout the period, writers called for a return to old-fashioned morals and codes of behavior that had been discarded by much of the younger generation. Men and women alike were critics of the new woman, and social agencies joined parents in attempting to return to Victorian standards of conduct, in which women were supposed to be sexually passionless. Middle-class women took leadership roles through voluntary organizations and social work, in some ways transgressing conventional gender roles but in other ways reinforcing them. During the First World War, the Young Women's Christian Association aided young urban women by providing boarding, libraries, gymnasiums, homemaking courses, and religious instruction to help minimize the temptations of modern city life. Both Catholics and Protestants disapproved of the new woman and the societal changes she represented. The second Ku Klux Klan (KKK) sought to reverse the changes in gender and sexual norms. The women's KKK worked to elevate white Protestant women while blaming the demise of America's moral standards on Catholics, Jews, and people of color. Also patronizing-but less extreme-were measures state institutions took. Progressive reformers created special police officers, a juvenile court system, detention facilities, and reformatories to contain female sexuality. Parents generally welcomed such efforts, as they were at a loss for how to control their daughters.

Prohibition Immigration Restriction & The KKK The New Woman The Scopes Trial

The New Woman
| Image & Lifestyle | Work, Education, and Reform | Sexuality |
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