True to Her Nature : Changing Advice to American Women

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9781577661276: True to Her Nature : Changing Advice to American Women

From colonial times to the present, advice givers from Cotton Mather to Dr. Benjamin Spock and Martha Stewart have offered a litany of opinions on proper child care and good housekeeping. Drawing on sermons, child-rearing manuals, and women's magazines, Margolis explores changing ideologies about middle-class women's roles and asserts they can only be explained within a larger material context. Variables such as household vs. industrial production, the demand or lack of demand for women's labor, and the changing costs and benefits of rearing children have been instrumental in influencing views of women's "true nature" and "proper place." This provocative and persuasive analysis suggests there are well-defined material causes for attitudes toward women's employment and housework, changing advice on child rearing--including the "discovery" that fathers are parents too--and the rebirth of feminism.

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Titles of related interest from Waveland Press: Mascia-Lees and Black, Gender and Anthropology (ISBN 1577660668); Nanda, Gender Diversity: Crosscultural Variations (ISBN 1577660749); and Womack-Marti, The Other Fifty Percent: Multicultural Perspectives on Gender Relations (ISBN 0881337226).

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