The Baddest Bitches of the Jazz Age

The cinema series “It Girls, Flappers, Jazz Babies & Vamps” screens at Film Forum through March 24, in association with the Library of Congress. Featuring the early sex symbols of the pre-code silver screen, including stars like Marlene Dietrich, Clara Bow, and Joan Crawford, the films challenged the moral high ground and touted sexual themes and shocking stories — at least until the enforcement of the restrictive Hays Code in the 1930s.

The popular women of the Jazz Age had a reputation for partying and promiscuity, on and off the screen. In the 1920s, flappers, vamps, and other independent women refused to play nicely and ignored the rules of traditional femininity. Here are a few of the more defiant and groundbreaking figures from the era.