How Is the Stereotypical Role of Women Promoted Through U.S. Magazines in the 1960s?

Topics: Woman, Feminism, Gender Pages: 8 (2937 words) Published: September 30, 2012

It has been verified from research that women’s magazines during the 1960s portrayed women in a sexualized or old-fashioned manner. On the other hand, the Feminist Movement had already begun in the start of the century and was ongoing and at its peak at the time. Additionally, research conducted in more recent decades shows that despite the ongoing feminist movement, which supported that women should have equal rights and should be treated with the same respect as men, women’s magazines promoted an old-fashioned image of women. This role that had been attributed to the post-war women consisted of the woman’s position being in the house, taking care of the children, waiting for her husband to come home from work, and not being able to make important decisions n her own. Thus the question that arises from the previous facts is whether or not the women’s liberation movement was moving forwards or backwards. Moreover, this research paper examines how despite the ongoing feminist movement, women’s magazines were holding on to the old-fashioned ideas of the previous decades and promoted women as the ‘weaker sex’

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During the 1960s the Feminist Movement was developing throughout the westernized societies. The movement was ongoing, and especially prominent in the United States with Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique in 1963, a book that depicted and criticized the stereotypical role of women at that time. During that decade, women’s magazines were very popular, even for teenagers since teen magazines had already debuted in the 1940s. In these magazines, women were almost exclusively promoted for their sexuality and always depicted as the weaker sex. It is true that in the 1960s women were not as focused on their career as women are now and men were not as involved in the family as -some might say- they are now, but what the magazines promoted was an extremely stereotypical image of a woman’s role in society. All the emphasis on the female body and her sexuality were far from the feminist movement that was currently happening in the 1960s. Such stereotypical images urged some women to take a stand and join the feminist movement. What will be analyzed further along in this paper is that despite the fact that the Women’s Liberation Movement was evolving, the role of women portrayed through magazines was a stay-at-home wife or sexualized in some way. In other words, the press in the 1960s promoted the conservative image women had most of the times in the past years, instead of promoting the true and ‘modern’ image of women.

Main Body
Women’s Liberation Movement
It was in the late 19th century that and early 20th the Feminist Movement or also known as Women’s Liberation Movement appeared in America for the first time. In 1848 the first Women’s Right Convention took place in New York City. During this convention the Declaration of Sentiments was signed by 68 women and 32 men. The resolutions that surfaced in this convention supported that women should have civil, religious, social and political rights, just as men had. Some may even say that this document acted as a trigger for the beginning of the feminist movement. Later on, in the early 1960s, the second-wave feminist movement evolved. This second-wave focused on the wider range of the issues that had been addressed in the Declaration of Sentiments the previous century. For example, the unequal working opportunities, the inequalities in the family, especially between husband and wife, and, of course, the legal inequalities as addressed in the Declaration of Sentiments in 1848. In 1923 the Equal Rights Amendment, originally written by Alice Paul, was introduced in Congress. Despite its early introduction, the ERA passed in congress 49 years later in 1972. Nevertheless, despite the increased influence of the feminist movement in the 1960s, the media kept portraying women in their traditional...
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