By Maureen Honey
The New Woman-an self sustaining, nontraditional, frequently career-minded girl for whom marriage and kin have been secondary-became a well-liked heroine in women’s journal fiction from the time of worldwide battle I during the Twenties. in this interval, American tradition entertained a brand new, feminist imaginative and prescient of gender roles that helped pave the best way for contemporary photographs of girls in public job. The tales during this assortment are drawn from the most important periodicals of the day-Ladies’ domestic magazine, Cosmopolitan, stable housework, Woman’s domestic spouse, and McCall’s-as good because the African-American journal The obstacle. each one tale is rooted in a few size of up to date feminism and explores a subject of constant significance, equivalent to team spirit between girls, the lives of girls of colour and working-class ladies, sexual harassment, lesbian love, kin and marital bonds, and women’s relation to paid employment.
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Extra info for Breaking the Ties That Bind: Popular Stories of the New Woman, 1915-1930
26 To posit a correlation between reader perspectives on a variety Page 8 of issues and popular literature is, at best, a problematic endeavor; and when texts are removed from us in time, the potential for misinterpretation is even greater. 27 I do not, therefore, claim that New Woman fiction represents either the lifestyle or the personal values of the reader. Not only are the real lives of these readers obscured for us by lack of data, but the immensely complex relationship of fantasy to the consumer's value system renders all but the most tentative conclusions useless.
Susanne's lack of traditional femininity is the true subject of the story, which makes repeated reference to her sweating body, disheveled appearance, and serviceable clothing. Her attraction to an old friend, Bill Ransome, is disrupted by his infatuation with the unattainable, delicate Angela, whose aloof beauty distracts him from Susanne's familiar camaraderie. Devastated by the simultaneous loss of her job and probable engagement announcement by Angela, Susanne is forced to rely on her grit for survival, ultimately winning both the man and the new position through reconfirmation of belief in herself despite what the world seems to say.
From "Henry's Divorce" (1929). 303 Page ix Acknowledgments When I was a graduate student at Michigan State University in the early 1970s, I had the good fortune to work with Russel Nye on my dissertation in American Studies. He was a co-founder of the Popular Culture Association and directed a graduate seminar, of which I was a member, on popular historical documents often overlooked by scholars. My own research topic for this seminar was movie magazines, as I had devoured them while growing up and felt they had something worthwhile to say about women's roles in American culture.
Breaking the Ties That Bind: Popular Stories of the New Woman, 1915-1930 by Maureen Honey