Dr. Jennifer W. Shewmaker

Parent, Teacher, Author

Media and Gender Talk Podcast: The ideal woman and feminism in the 20th Century

Today in Media and Gender Talk I’m talking with Dr. Laura Carroll, associate professor of English in the Department of Language and Literature at Abilene Christian University. Dr. Carroll studies rhetorical theory and has a special interest in feminist rhetoric of the 20th Century.

I asked Dr. Carroll to share some thoughts with us about the way that culture shapes the vision of the ideal woman, the ways that public rhetoric has changed that ideal throughout the 20th century, and the ways that feminism has been challenged and needs to continue developing in current days.

We talk about the Cult of Domesticity and the way that ideal womanhood promoted in the 19th century quickly changed during the World War II when women were needed in the factories. This was true both in the United States

Example of public rhetoric promoting women working in factories during WWII http://www.rockwell-center.org/essays-illustration/shes-a-wow/

Example of public rhetoric promoting women working in factories during WWII http://www.rockwell-center.org/essays-illustration/shes-a-wow/

220px-WomanFactory1940s

US Government Publicity photo of American machine tool worker in Texas

and in the United Kingdom and Common Wealth

Salvage – Up Housewives and at 'em – put out your paper, metal, bones. Artist Yates-Wilson

Salvage – Up Housewives and at ’em – put out your paper, metal, bones. Artist Yates-Wilson

Things changed again post World War II when men returned home and needed jobs in the US, or didn’t return home in  Europe.

Dr. Carroll also discusses the Womanist Movement and in particular, the work of Audre Lorde. For more on women who have made significant changes to the feminist movement, see this article. 

See the digital story below for a look at some of Dr. Carroll’s most recent work on Monuments and Memorials and the Rhetoric of Place.

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