The developing Women’s Movement confirmed that house-work was drudgery and politicized the perceived relationship of women with the home. The ‘mad housewife’ novels also contributed to this changing and radical response to house-work and were better suited to chart the ways in which the housewife felt oppressed — especially since the source of their oppression had up to this point seemed invisible, because there was no language in which to describe it. The consciousness-raising novels of the mid-1970s were to show further how women’s domestic identity allowed for no creativity or sense of self. Ann Oakley’s analysis of domestic labour in Housewife (1974) crystallizes these views and demonstrates, ‘“House-wife” is a political label after all, a shorthand symbol for the convenience to a male-oriented society of women’s continued captivity in a world of domestic affairs — a one-word reference to those myths of woman’s place which chart their presence in the home as a natural and universal necessity’ (Oakley 1974: 240). Having rejected the naturalness of the association between women and housework once and for all, women writers were concerned with the means by which the authentic female self could be constructed beyond this sphere.
Swipe to navigate through the chapters of this book
Please log in to get access to this content
To get access to this content you need the following product:
- Women’s Spaces: Marilyn French, Erica Jong and Marge Piercy
- Macmillan Education UK
- Sequence number
- Chapter number