Social Developments in the 1920s Essay

3048 Words 13 Pages
At the turn of the century, life drastically changed for Americans, especially in the 1920's where new social developments extremely affected their lives. During this time period, America transformed into a consumer society that contrasted with the production of primary industrial goods and an ethic of scarcity, restraint, sacrifice, and frugality of the 19th century. The 20th century was now known for leisure, relative affluence, and an emphasis on consumer goods and personal satisfaction. Things like amusement parks and professional sports became very popular and middle-class people could now enjoy items like interior decoration and indoor plumbing. The advertising business was booming and began the process of wants and consumption. …show more content…
Warner Brothers then took the necessary equipment from AT&T in the spring of 1925 and on August 6, 1926, they premiered its new "Vitaphone" technology. In the early years of the century, movies only applied to the working class audiences. But after 1910, they targeted the middle-class by opening theaters in more "respectable" districts and producers made their films more interesting by adding a plot which attracted a wider audience. By 1920, movies were played in motion picture "palaces", which were exotic buildings with uniformed ushers. These came to be part of the assumption that films were a "democracy of consumption", or that these so called palaces could be enjoyed by all classes equally. Movies also carried a message and showcased consumer goods like clothing and plots sometimes containing themes relating to American consumer culture.
Films also projected a new view of womanhood. A few rising female stars of the 20s included: Madge Bellamy, Clara Bow, and Joan Crawford, which represented the modern woman. However, these ladies did not use their bodies to attract the opposite sex in films but their clothes, cosmetics, and jewelry that were on them. Many movies used the "makeover" plot which was when an ordinary, boring woman would trade in her old-fashioned clothes for flapper attire to regain her husband. The aim through most films was marriage and the maintenance of it. They were also tended to tame sexuality

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