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In the popular stereotype of post-World War II America, women abandoned their wartime jobs and contentedly retreated to the home. These mythical women were like the 1950s TV character June Cleaver, white, middle-class, suburban housewives. Not June Cleaver unveils the diversity of postwar women, showing how far women departed form this one-dimensional image.
This collection of fifteen revisionist essays charts new directions in American women's history and provides connections to scholarship that, until recently, has focused primarily on the years before 1945 and after 1960. The contributors explore the work and activism of postwar American women and also point to the contradictions and ambiguities in postwar concepts of gender.
Including examinations of such aspects of postwar women's history as the arrival of Chinese women immigrants in New York City; women's changing presence in the labor force and in union organization; and the precarious lives of women abortionists, lesbians, and single mothers, the authors effectively demonstrate how postwar women's identities were not only an expression of their gender but also of their class, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, occupation, and politics.
|1||Introduction: Women and Gender in Postwar America, 1945-1960||1|
|2||When Women Arrived: The Transformation of New York's Chinatown||19|
|3||An "Obligation to Participate": Married Nurses' Labor Force Participation in the 1950s||37|
|4||Recapturing Working-Class Feminism: Union Women in the Postwar Era||57|
|5||Women's Employment and the Domestic Ideal in the Early Cold War Years||84|
|6||Gender and Progressive Politics: A Bridge to Social Activism of the 1960s||103|
|7||Mayhem and Moderation: Women Peace Activists during the McCarthy Era||128|
|8||"Is Family Devotion Now Subversive?": Familialism against McCarthyism||151|
|9||Gender and Civic Activism in Mexican American Barrios in California: The Community Service Organization, 1947-1962||177|
|10||"Our Skirts Gave Them Courage": The Civil Defense Protest Movement in New York City, 1955-1961||201|
|11||Beyond the Feminine Mystique: A Reassessment of Postwar Mass Culture, 1946-1958||229|
|12||"I Wanted the Whole World to See": Race, Gender, and Constructions of Motherhood in the Death of Emmett Till||263|
|13||White Neurosis, Black Pathology: Constructing Out-of-Wedlock Pregnancy in the Wartime and Postwar United States||304|
|14||Extreme Danger: Women Abortionists and Their Clients before Roe v. Wade||335|
|15||The Sexualized Woman: The Lesbian, the Prostitute, and the Containment of Female Sexuality in Postwar America||358|
|16||The "Other" Fifties: Beats and Bad Girls||382|
|About the Contributors||409|