Domestic Life in the 1950s

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What are some scholary articles or books about women and social expectations in the 1950s?

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Any reading list about women's roles in the 1950s should begin to with two books. The first is The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan, and the second is Simone de Beauvoir's The Second Sex. These two books are commentaries on women's roles: Friedan's specifically in the 1950s, and The Second Sex, actually published in 1949, a philosophical history on the subjugation of women. Beyond that, Born for Liberty by Sara Evans is an excellent overview of women's history and feminism. Some other books include:

  • Catherine Gourley, Gidgets and Women Warriors
  • Joanne Meyerowitz, Not June Cleaver (a collection of essays)

Some other books that describe '50s life and culture in general (including women's issues) are:

  • David Halberstam, The Fifties
  • William Leuchtenberg, A Troubled Feast

Source: Rebecca Edwards, "Women and Gender History," in Eric Foner and Lisa McGirr, eds., American History Now (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2011): 336-357.


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