Thinking about women’s nightlife behaviour from now and then, I put London’s party culture, since it has always followed both music and fashion trends, under the spotlight and simply ask: Why are women still acting like burlesque performers when they have everything?
Back in the 20th century cabaret dancers and flappers fought for their freedom, equal rights and social status. The former used their sexuality as a tool to revolt against the common social acceptance of women and certainly for money and fame. The latter were similarly rising against the underestimation of women and, of course, they wanted to have fun. Women began having more independence.
Cabaret clubs guaranteed exciting and adventurous evenings. All dancers looked the part, being seductive and wearing only lingerie and feathers and they carried out a spectacular performances. It is clear that it was a show just for men, delivering both mental and physical pleasures. Perhaps, most of us have watched Moulin Rouge. Even though women were served as entertainment, they felt admired because they were brave enough to break the common opinion about them.
After World War 1, a new image of the contemporary woman was created — the flapper (Gatsby’s girls). It wasn’t only the nightclub dancers, who were showing off with their immoral attitudes anymore. Being a flapper, a girl was seen as easy going, driving her own car, partying all the time, smoking cigars and drinking gin. Jazz clubs were her home. She loved spending time talking with men, tempting them with her lace dresses and provocative language. She was a reckless rebel, enjoying her nights to the fullest, free from the confines of formality.
We have everything. We are free, independent, working our dream job and living our own lives. So why do we continue to act promiscuously?
If before women needed recognition, today we are appreciated in society. We are already emancipated and have nothing to be rebellious about. Wearing the bare minimum when hitting the clubs for a cocktail or two, we are looking for an exciting end to our evening. Thus, it is not the social system that make us loosen our behaviour. It is simply in our nature to ask for attention.
London is a cosmopolitan place, influenced by multicultural flows. When we compare the cabaret dancers and Jazz Age flappers and their seductive, promiscuous manners with women of today, there was no significant difference between now and then. Women today go to a club, drinking and dancing, clearly hoping that they will not end their night alone similar to the cabaret dancers and the flappers.
Partying in London today is crazy. The popularity of every club depends on the ladies going there. Men are spending money to get into a club because they expect to see a room full of good-looking females inside. Therefore, we are essential players in London’s nightlife stage and our appearance is crucial. We are wanted and needed. But sometimes not for the right reasons.
Men are buying and their entertainment is a priority for the club managers. High heels, short dresses, jewellery, nice hairstyles and lots of make-up classify us as worthy to be in a nightclub. Plus, you need to be hot enough to be allowed inside. Once you’re in the club, however, you agree to be considered as a party girl. Party girls are the typical women’s crowd. Expect to hear a lot of cries like “We just love partying!” “Is there more champagne?” “Kiss me.” Men were buying drinks, persistently complementing, aiming to share their bed with someone. Exclusively. Bare skin and sex drive are wanted, and we are carelessly delivering. Sounds a bit cynical but welcome to the real world.
Yet, it’s not only the women’s fault. Going out is a game where we are just a means of persuading men to spend their money. We are aware of the game. In fact, it is better to be satisfied by the rules since we are not willing to change them. As a party girl you are prepared for a wild night out with a stranger. Perhaps, it’s all about being so drunk that you don’t realise what you are doing. Fun is not the main aspect of partying anymore, ‘making out’ is.
Are women living in 20th century London to blame?
Women’s expectations for a good night out have altered. The club culture is different and the crowd is contemporary. Since the morals have changed also, the place, the music, the conversations are not important. I remember when I was partying in London for the first time, I was amazed by the quick thoughtless line of events. It was like there was no time for conversation, only for lust. I was wondering what was wrong with everyone. After a while, I began accepting the open-minded behaviour of both men and women in London, and start partying like them. I was one of the party girls.
There is nothing humiliating in having fun. Since we are obligated to act foolishly so that we can party, our only choice is standing a devil-may-care attitude comparable to the cabaret dancers and the flappers. We are smart enough to get what we want, and then we are free to decide whether or not we want to play the nightlife game. In the 21st century we have accomplished social gratitude and freedom. We are all party girls, all the same yet different.
So next time someone is trying to put a label on you, just smile. Let him know that after 12 o’clock, it is simply too late for any prejudice and judgments.
We are women. We love to dance, to kiss and to have fun. We love London.