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British Women's Writing, 1930 to 1960Between the Waves$
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Sue Kennedy and Jane Thomas

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781789621822

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781789621822.001.0001

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Lower-middle-class Domestic Leisure in Woman’s Weekly, 1930

Lower-middle-class Domestic Leisure in Woman’s Weekly, 1930

Chapter:
(p.17) Chapter One Lower-middle-class Domestic Leisure in Woman’s Weekly, 1930
Source:
British Women's Writing, 1930 to 1960
Author(s):

Eleanor Reed

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.3828/liverpool/9781789621822.003.0002

Eleanor Reed explores the status of domestic leisure in issues of Woman’s Weekly during 1930 when many middle-class housewives looked to labour-saving technologies to produce status-defining domestic leisure. Woman’s Weekly initiates and reflects the aspirations and anxieties of a readership eager to cement its position in an expanding, diversifying and competitive middle class. The magazine’s lower-middle-class distinctiveness emerges through comparison to Good Housekeeping, a glossy domestic monthly targeting middle-class housewives with larger budgets. Rather than following Pierre Bourdieu and others in portraying lower-middle-class culture as an inauthentic copy of leisure-class culture, this essay argues that Woman’s Weekly contributes to the production of an ideologically distinctive lower-middle-class domestic culture in which its readers can take pride. This culture is problematized however by its suspected source in the magazine’s unknown producers, some of whom were men; a circumstance alluded to in Stevie Smith’s 1936 Novel on Yellow Paper.

Keywords:   leisure-class, 1930s, technologies, lower-middle-class, domestic culture, Women’s Weekly, Good Housekeeping, Pierre Bourdieu, Stevie Smith

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