A Woman’s Place
A Woman’s Place
Marriage and Homemaking in the Early Domestic Press
This chapter examines those early French women’s journals that promote a domestic or family-oriented figuration of femininity, providing information on the necessary skills to engage successfully in marriage and/or motherhood, or on more practical aspects relating to ‘good housekeeping’ generally. The chapter traces changes to the legal and social positions on marriage and motherhood during this period, changes which help account for the more ‘modern’ post-revolutionary emphasis on women’s emotional fulfilment put forward in contemporary journals such as the remarkably radical Courier de l’hymen ou journal des dames (1791) – a journal which also provides the first ‘problem page’ in French women’s magazines. This chapter suggests that the journals examined here have much in common with contemporary women’s magazines generally, whether by their inclusion of a recipe rubric or dressmaking patterns - as is the case with the remaining two domestic journals, Le Journal des femmes (1832-37) and Le Conseiller des dames (1847-92), which point up French women’s growing association with the domestic realm and their role as family educator. These journals provide cookery tips and recipes, advice on childcare, information on making clothes, general practical shortcuts relating to domestic science, as well as the usual staple selection of fictional excerpts.
Keywords: domesticity, childcare, recipes, Le Conseiller des dames (1847-1892), marriage, motherhood, charity work, Le Courier de l’hymen ou journal des dames (1791), Le Journal des femmes (1832-1837), household management
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