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We have already described some of the changes in women's status which started in the twenties after women achieved the right to vote. Let us now consider some of these changes in detail and describe their impact on the sexual revolution.
The "new" woman of the twenties became more assertive, increasingly rejecting the role of the pure and sexless Victorian female. She expressed her new-found sexuality much more openly:
The length of her skirts rose during the 1920s from a few inches off the ground to knee height. Corsets, petticoats and cotton garments were cast aside and replaced by flesh-colored rayon and [by] silk stockings; she also took to an array of cosmetics to make herself more alluring: lipstick, rouge, creams, perfumes Ч all became vital.
These changes were accompanied by a gradual shift in family structure to a less male-authoritarian model. Although the husband continued to maintain his role as the breadwinner and moral authority, the relationship between husband and wife was now one of respect and sharing. By the early fifties the ideal father image had changed from the stern authoritarian of the early 1900s to the kind and understanding type, like television's Robert Young, the father, who, however, still always knew what was best.
During this time a new social phenomenon arose Ч dating. Ultimately, dating became the normal custom for meeting members of the opposite sex, replacing the traditional family arranged approach to mate selection.