Limina: A Journal of Historical and Cultural Studies

Popular Patriarchy in the 1950s: Ronald McKie’s Women’s Weekly Writing

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Cheryl Taylor

Griffith University

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Popular Patriarchy in the 1950s: Ronald McKie’s Women’s Weekly Writing


Analysis of fictionalising techniques used by leading journalist Ronald McKie in his 1950s Women’s Weekly articles supports the transfer of Betty Friedan’s observations about American women’s magazines to this Australian publication, and exemplifies the seamlessness of patriarchal and capitalist ideology in the era. These techniques include McKie’s adoption of a mild, out-of-character writing persona, stereotyping of women, attribution of unrestricted judging rights to the ‘male gaze’, and faith in the invulnerability, benevolence and intelligence of male interviewees. Conversely, McKie’s interviews with women prioritise nurturing and house-keeping skills, appearance, and above all consumerism, as means for reconciling Australian women to housework in the suburbs. Dilettante discussions of artistic and scientific subjects deflect women readers’ attention from formal education as a path to personal fulfilment and financial independence. McKie’s interviews with exceptional women, such as Leonie Kramer and Sadie Orr, further neutralise potential fissures in the Feminine Mystique and in the Beauty Myth, as retrospectively defined by Naomi Wolf.

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Taylor Article [PDF, 517.5 KB]
Updated 4 Mar 2016


 

Limina: A Journal of Historical and Cultural Studies

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