What Do Women Want? Housewives' Associations, Activism and Changing Representations of Women in the 1950s

Journal article


Beaumont, C (2016). What Do Women Want? Housewives' Associations, Activism and Changing Representations of Women in the 1950s. Women's History Review. 26 (1), pp. 147-162.
AuthorsBeaumont, C
Abstract

The myth that the women's movement in Britain went into decline in the decade following the Second World War has now been debunked. Yet despite this more accurate re-telling of the fate of female activism in the 1950s, the view that the majority of women at this time aspired only to marriage and motherhood persists. The iconic image of the ‘ideal 1950s housewife’ has proved hard to excise from the historical record and the public imagination. The aim of this paper is to discover what women really wanted in the 1950s. This will be done through a study of popular housewives' associations who represented the interests of over a million British women throughout the decade. The paper will evaluate how successful these groups were in supporting their members and campaigning to improve the lives of women. In exploring these themes it is argued that a new understanding of domesticity emerged in the 1950s better reflecting what women really wanted in the decades following the Second World War.

Year2016
JournalWomen's History Review
Journal citation26 (1), pp. 147-162
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1080/09612025.2015.1123029
Publication dates
Print23 Feb 2016
Publication process dates
Deposited21 Jun 2016
Accepted31 Dec 2015
Accepted author manuscript
License
CC BY-NC-ND
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https://openresearch.lsbu.ac.uk/item/874zq

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