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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

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

Eleanor Reed

Liverpool University Press

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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