‘Just a Housewife’: The Feminine Mystique, Women Strike for Peace and Domestic Identity in 1960s America

Jon Coburn


Abstract


Some criticism of Women Strike for Peace suggests that their maternal identification and pride in projecting the image of ‘housewife and mother’ solidified the feminine mystique. This article argues that members of Women Strike for Peace adopted this image as a tactic in order to advance their campaign for peace. In recognising the political awareness of members, an assessment of the group’s successes as perceived by former activists demonstrates the benefits that the image of domesticity brought to Women Strike for Peace. Additionally, recollections suggest that success has been understood through a framework recognising the sought-after goals of feminist community organisation.  While the group had a contentious relationship with feminism, members have since attempted to redress the narrative surrounding their feminist stance. Former activists have attempted simultaneously to take pride in their identity as housewives while claiming to have heralded women’s liberation through their actions.


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