A WOMAN'S PLACE, 1910-1975 by Ruth Adam

A WOMAN'S PLACE, 1910-1975

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This efficient survey traces the erratic shifts of woman's ""proper place"" in England from 1910 to the present, indicating that woman's path to equality has been more like a corkscrew than an arrow. Pressed into the labor market in wartime, women became ""Amazons"" in the manless 1920s but were nudged back to the romantic bedroom in the '30s and the tender-care nursery in the '50s. Alternately enjoined to serve their country or their children, to be chaste or to be sexually ""liberated,"" to stay at home or to work, women oddly circle back on the lives of former generations; wasp-waisted '50s matrons in platform shoes obsessively hovering over babies bewilder their suffragette grandmothers. (""I wish you weren't so modern, Mother,"" says a sweet young thing in a 1930 Punch cartoon. ""It's terribly out of date."") Despite enormous legislative progress toward women's equality in England, the doubling back seems likely to continue, Adam notes, since social and economic forms are still dictated by the familiar misconception that man is always the breadwinner, woman the dependent. A lively, useful social history--with fresh illustrations--that should help dispel the notion of woman's steady progress.

Pub Date: June 27th, 1977
Publisher: Norton