Zelda Fitzgerald and flappers
Jess McCabe // 14 March 2008
I had no idea that F Scott Fitzgerald of Great Gatsby fame was even married, let alone to novelist, painter and ballet dancer Zelda Fitzgerald.
The online journal BlueStocking has an excellent article on her this issue (sorry, no direct link). As well as information about Zelda’s life, it includes some of her insights into the way that flappers were objectified:
The flapper that was intended to represent a liberating feminine identity ironically became an objectified figure that restricted Zelda’s freedom to realize her self-identity. Not surprisingly, she believed that this objectification would destroy the ideal of the flapper, since the freedom supposedly entailed in its ideal was bounded instead by the limitations of its commercial objectification.
The article also touches on her novel, Save Me the Waltz, thought to be auto-biographical:
In exploring love as a power relationship, Zelda suggests that the feminine voice is silenced once a woman becomes subjugated to a man. For, once Alabama is captured by David and transformed into his object, his vision of her is subverted as she loses her voice and power over him. Thus, the extent to which Alabama’s voice is no longer heard reveals Zelda’s desire to expose the toll exacted by performance ‘in a culture where commodification has shaped feminine identity’.
Definitely going on my reading list.
Photo from discoverblackheritage, shared under a Creative Commons license