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SOSC 1140 Winter 2

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York University
Social Science
SOSC 1140
Patti Nyman

LECTURE 20 March 11, 2014. The Historical Materialist Approach to the Women’s Movement • “Women’s liberation did not create the working woman; rather the working woman – especially the working housewife – created women’s liberation” (Harris 89).  When people change the way they make a living  changing in all social order  like gender roles in the family • Women in the Labour Force ⇒ New Forms of Family Life  Changes in economic condition that forced women to go to work in the first place • Debunking the “Rebellion-by-Inspiration” Theory  Theory: idea that people were inspired first and then rebelled (women thought they could work and be independent  HOWEVER: women did not spontaneously want to change their place in household  were pushed by economic conditions (family expenses etc.)  Most women had no idea the other struggles (RACE etc.) existed  Very little access to discourse in society (WHERE THE HECK IS THE INSPIRATION COMING FROM?)  they were not inspired by anything to do anything special The Domestic Role of Women Following World War II • The Myth of the Housewife as the Universal Condition of Women  Myth that women were ever universally in the house  Many women worked during the war (men were gone to war)  Especially racially oppressed or poor women (paid less, but still worked) • The Marital and Procreative Imperative  Women pushed into the home following the second World war (formerly working the men jobs)  Men were coming back from war and men needed the jobs 1  Pushed into home to birth children AND stimulate economic growth and Stabilize the overproducing of commodities that occurred • “The Baby Boom” BAM BAM  So many people died and the pop was low  stimulate economic growth  Takes place between 1946 – 1966 (then came the echo boom)  Birth rate increased tremendously!  Economic Conditions:  Economic Incentives to Have Children: e.g. The Baby Bonus  late 40s early 50s  Government literally paying you to have children  Men offered free houses if agree to marry and have children soon  Widespread propaganda: best life is that with marriage and children  Laws governing films cannot portray marriage negatively or divorce positively  Manuals on how to be a good wife (around 1955) Good Wife Guide “Why Women Left Home” • Urbanization and Industrialization   Shift from Rural to Urban Life  Despite going from rural to urban setting  overall impact of decline of birthrate  have less kids when they move to city  WENT DOWN: improvements in sanitation and healthcare  Kids actually made it to adulthood  less kids and focus on them  live  Birth rate declined BEFORE birth control was introduced (5 yrs. before)  Increasing Cost of Raising Children in Cities  Less kids because it’s more expensive • “The Great Inflation”  Rising Costs of Living  Early 1960s: young women with kids began to work 2  Found it difficult to stay middle class standard of living  Women driven to work because of economic instability  Second Income Needed to Support Same Standard of Living  Two incomes needed to sustain life that was sustained by one income before • Overproduction and Under consumption  Following the Second World War there was a lot of overproduction  People did not have wages to buy commodities  Decline of Manufacturing Jobs  Not enough manufacturing jobs  lay off  “Solution” in Keynesian Economics  Problem not just overproduction but under consumption  Can’t get people money to buy the commodities  Not failing to work by choice just not enou
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