True to Her Nature: Changing Advice to American Women

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Waveland Press, 2000 - Self-Help - 180 pages
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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, author Maxine L. 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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