Flappers with bobbed hair in 1920s America were not just Anglos.  Mexican Americans in Texas also bobbed their hair. Here’s a translation of a song, Las Pelonas, the bobbed hairs.  “Son flojas pa’l metate.”  They have no interest in grinding maize on the grindstone.

And who can blame them?  As I suggest here and friend Lesley Téllez found, grinding on the metate was (and is) grindingly hard work.

The girls of San Antonio

Are lazy at the metate.

They want to walk out bobbed-haired,

With straw hats on.

The harvesting is finished,

So is the cotton.

The flappers stroll out now

For a good time.

This reference, which foreshadows so much of the twentieth-century history of the metate, comes from Bea Misa whose blog I’ve quoted  before. I really recommend it  (see this post on Filipinos in Hong Kong).  She in turn located it on History Matters, the indispensable history web site run by George Mason University.

History Matters takes it from The Mexican Immigrant: His Life Story  (New York: Dover, 1971), 308 first published in 1931 by Manuel Gamio.

Gamio, the “father” of Mexican archaeology, promoted the idea, still so important in Mexico, that indigenous cultures were the basis of the Mexican state and Mexican culture. In the wake of the early twentieth-century “Revolution” that tore Mexico apart, he advocated more education and less maize for the indigenous.


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