Open Access Senior Thesis
Julia E Liss
© 2014 Margaret Bonaparte
My thesis examines the role that Ladies Home Journal played in challenging the ideals of domesticity that emerged in the postwar period in the United States. Originally founded in 1883, Ladies Home Journal emerged from World War II as the most popular and highly circulated women’s magazine. Husband and wife duo Bruce and Beatrice Gould served as co-editors-in-chief from 1935 to 1962, and populated the magazine with numerous ambitious and talented female writers and editors. Many of these female staff members also married and had children, while maintaining their careers. During an era where employees discriminated against women in the workplace, Ladies Home Journal employed women and published numerous articles supporting women in the workplace.
In 1963, Betty Friedan claimed that women’s magazines only perpetuated the idealized, feminine housewife, but I argue that her argument oversimplifies the complexities women’s magazines represented during the 1950s. Divided intro three chapters, I analyze the shifting working conditions for women between the 1940s and 1950s, then unearth the working culture of Ladies Home Journal during the postwar period through an analysis of the editors, writers, and articles. Lastly, I examine three female journalists, Dorothy Thompson, Betty Hannah Hoffman, and Maureen Daly who all regularly contributed to the Journal.
Bonaparte, Margaret, "Reexamining the 1950s American Housewife: How Ladies Home Journal Challenged Domestic Expectations During the Postwar Period" (2014). Scripps Senior Theses. 368.