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Modern MotherhoodWomen and Family in England, 1945-2000$
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Angela Davis

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780719084553

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719084553.001.0001

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Breadwinners and homemakers: ideals of men and women in the family

Breadwinners and homemakers: ideals of men and women in the family

(p.177) 7 Breadwinners and homemakers: ideals of men and women in the family
Modern Motherhood

Angela Davis

Manchester University Press

In 1945 the ideal family was thought to consist of a mother as dependant homemaker, father as breadwinner, and two, three or four children. However this model family was transformed over the following decades. Women have come to play an active role in the labour force, men are more involved in the home and lifelong marriage is no longer the common experience. By examining cultural representations of motherhood this chapter considers how these ideas of the proper conduct of mothers and fathers, inside and outside the home, were presented within society. It evaluates how women themselves related to these images and the difficulties they faced in doing so. The chapter demonstrates that motherhood at this time was a subject fraught with contradictions and ambiguities, and these tensions are reflected in women’s articulations of their attitudes and experiences.

Keywords:   Family, Children, Motherhood, Fatherhood, Popular culture, Social change

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