Women's Suffrage Parade, New York1915 Bettmann/CORBIS
Women's Suffrage Parade, New York
1915
Bettmann/CORBIS

Suffragettes, Sports and Smoky Nightclubs

New Heights for Women

By the turn of the 20th century, the social and political opportunities for women increased dramatically and women began to participate in what had previously been masculine privilege. They did so, however, wearing heels. As clear signifiers of female gender, high heels helped to counter arguments that new freedoms could only be gained at the loss of femininity.

Suffragettes pounded the pavement in high-heeled button boots, while women of leisure enjoyed athletics, such as tennis, in high-heeled sports shoes. By the 1920s, the heels and hemlines of flappers had reached new heights, as had the opportunities available to women.
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