How far is too far for feminism to go? When Miss Modern and flappers came on stage in the 1920s and 30s, moral panic surfaced with a blizzard of criticism that girls had gone too far. So did it happen when girls broke down more and more gender stereotypes in the 1970s. So did it happen again when girl power rose up and ladettes dominated newspaper headlines in the 1990s.
Who were ladettes? They had many labels: noisy, confident, boyish. They drank too much. They took their clothes off without scruple. They enjoyed traditionally masculine sports. In a word, they were the girl version of “traditional” men who boozed, boasted, and sometimes behaved vulgarly. The conservatives criticized them that they strayed too far no matter from the traditional ideal of woman or from a new, independent woman.
But has feminism, or ladettes, gone too far? Ladettes only demonstrated the flipped-over version of the old, binary gender norms where active boys lead, quiet girls follow. When girls behave completely like a lad, this became a whole new story about girlhood. Girls were making their own decisions, taking up space that was traditionally solely preserved for men, and demanding more and more true equality.