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'20s Bob Haircut

If you want the audience to quickly place the timeframe that a work takes place in, the easiest way is to sprinkle it with the aesthetic that the timeframe is famous for. In the case of the Roaring Twenties, few things are as iconic as The Flapper, and all flappers (at least, according to Hollywood) have bobbed hair, whether the Louise Brooks shingle kind, the Josephine Baker Eton crop kind, the Clara Bow Quirky Curls kind, or the femme, wavy Joan Crawford kind.

A character wearing such a hairstyle will more often than not also be The Flapper, although she could alternatively represent another type of socially progressive woman. Because this was a time frame where women were expected to be subservient to men and Stay in the Kitchen, defying Long Hair Is Feminine was a powerful visual statement that the woman in question didn't subscribe to the then-accepted notions of a "woman's place."

In Japan, a short bob (usually paired with a kimono) is a nostalgic shorthand for the Taisho and pre-war Showa eras, when this haircut was massively popular with young girls.

Compare its Sister Trope the Sci-Fi Bob Haircut.

Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Cutting It Short, a Czech film from The Eighties directed by Jiri Menzel, based on a novella of the same name by Bohumil Hrabal. Maryshka is a young wife of a local brewery manager. She's extremely lively and spirited, completely unashamed to publicly do things which others only think or do in private. She has gorgeous long honey blond hair, wavy and thick. Her hair is admired by the whole town and they compare it to its memorable sights. At the end of the movie, she decides to have her hair cut like Josephine Baker. note  This is the last straw for her husband who spanks her in front of a board of directors of the brewery.
  • Thoroughly Modern Millie
    • Most women Millie sees in the street at the beginning of the film wear bob haircuts. It's one of the fashion things that Millie gets obsessed with.
    • Millie bobs her hair as part of her Makeover Montage. Other things she does include getting a new shorter dress and a Nice Hat, and trying to invoke Petite Pride as her silhouette is not perfect for the year 1922.
    • Subverted with her friend Miss Dorothy who has cute curly hair. She's a very feminine girly girl character and not overly lively. Millie convinces her to bob her hair at one point; however, she then meets Millie's boss who falls in love with her and tells her that cutting such gorgeous hair would be a sin.
  • Chicago
    • Lots of the characters wear this hair style. Not surprising since it's set in The Roaring Twenties.
    • Velma Kelly, a Vaudeville star, has beautiful raven black hair and she wears the slick version.
    • Roxie Hart has a curly blond bob cut. People start copying her, even the prison guard Mama Morton. She would love to become a famous star.

    Literature 
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald's short story "Bernice Bobs Her Hair", from 1920. The idea of a girl wanting to bob her hair makes her very attractive to the boys in town.
  • The first chapter of the Anno Dracula novella "Vampire Romance", set in 1923, is called "Genevieve Bobs Her Hair", in imitation of Fitzgerald. Genevieve gets a bob as part of fitting in to the new era.
  • In Pop!: The Invention of Bubble Gum by author/illustrator Meghan McCarthy, a mother and daughter with 1920s bobbed haircuts are shown on one page blowing bubble gum bubbles. Justified since bubble gum was invented in 1928 and the scene is intended as a historical depiction.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Downton Abbey
    • In S2, at the end of World War One, Lady Mary Crawley idly threatens to bob her hair.
    • In S3, Lady Edith and Lady Sybil both get bobs, but the more conservative Mary keeps her long hair.
    • Lady Rose wears a fashionable curly bob with headbands. She represents the new breed of "Bright Young Things", who delighted in shocking society with their antics. Rose carries out her most shocking antics in Series 4, she loses the radical haircut for a wavy, halfway-to-shoulder-length look halfway between a bob and a more traditional cut.
  • There were several young flapper girls in the Jeeves and Wooster TV series with bobs.
  • The title character of Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries, as befitting for the time period.
  • In The Supersizers Eat... The Twenties, Sue Perkins, the host, gets a bob haircut during her makeover (she usually wears somewhat sloppy short hair). When she first sees herself in the mirror, she cries: "I look like an evil doll!" The truth is that twenties flapper look of "the young and beautiful elite" suits her perfectly, even though she's not a classic beauty.

     Newspaper Comics 

    Video Games 
  • One of the Splicer models in BioShock, Baby Jane, has a pageboy haircut. That along with her outfit is an indication that she's a flapper.
  • Tae Asakura from Raidou Kuzunoha VS The Soulless Army has bobbed hair. The game is set in Japan in the Roaring Twenties and she's a flapper.

    Web Comics 
  • Lackadaisy: Ivy's haircut is supposed to be visual short hand for her post-secondary, pro-feminist education and behavior. And she's definitely a flapper.
  • Flannery from Templar Arizona: her hair and 1920's outfits are used to indicate the alternate history setting where people who casually dress in the fashions of prior decades are a visable subculture.
  • Problem Sleuth exists in a indistict time filled with an assortment of period cliches aimed largely at parodying the Film Noir genre. That Hysterical Dame and Nervous Broad both have flapper bobs (and jaunty hats) should come as no surprise.

    Western Animation 

Expository HairstylesHair Tropes'70s Hair
    ImageSource/Photography'70s Hair
The New Rock & RollThe Roaring TwentiesChrono Crusade

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