Creating Working Women
CREATING WORKING WOMEN: Australian Women’s Weekly 1940s fiction and the construction of female identity
Anne-Marie Tokley Department of Communication and Journalism Massey University Wellington New Zealand
Presented at The Annual Meeting of the Australian and New Zealand Communication Association Christchurch, New Zealand 4-7 July 2005
Creating Working Women
Creating Working Women
Abstract During the 1940s in Australia, and as part of wartime propaganda, literature that contributed to an Australian national identity was strongly encouraged and promoted. Only stories that were optimistic and evoked a love of the land were truly Australian and enhanced national unity, but it was mainstream popular culture that embraced fully the positive messages endorsed by propaganda. This paper examines three short stories published in the Australian Women’s Weekly in 1943. It outlines the Weekly’s role in constructing a female identity that would help Australia become a unified and strong nation. Women’s identity, according to the Weekly, centred on family responsibilities; it advocated marriage and motherhood as being women’s main career path. The fiction in the Weekly communicated to women that it was their job to look after men, it was their job to populate Australia, and it was their job to be optimistic in the face of misery. Australia was in a time of crisis, and it was necessary for each person’s role to be defined. Men were courageous soldiers; women were selfsacrificing supporters. The three stories analysed are an example of how the Australian Women’s Weekly aimed to communicate a female identity that insisted women’s main occupation was love, marriage, and family responsibility – for the good of the nation. Key words: fiction, romantic love, marriage, motherhood, female identity
‘Literature – if you want a broad definition – is primarily communication’ Frank Dolby Davidson, Australian Writers Speak, 1942
Introduction The role of literature in shaping people’s ideas is a contested area of study, involving Reader Response theory, anthropology, sociology, psychology, and literary theory. Ideas vary depending on academic standpoint, from reading as an individual psychological process to reading as an external, social act. I believe reading is a social practice, and readers work both with and against the text in order to create their own reality (Cherland, 1994, p. 9). Literature and the act of reading do not occur in a vacuum. Also, Popular Culture has a specific affect on people as it is widely distributed, and, as Meyers points out, it works to ‘create and reinforce a particular world view or ideology that shapes our perspectives and beliefs about the world’ (Meyers, 1999, p. 3): reading is one way people learn what behaviours are acceptable in their community and what are not. Dominant discourses inadvertently teach people the community’s rules. But, occasionally, a population’s behaviour is deliberately influenced towards particular behaviours and attitudes, for example, as in propaganda. During wartime Australia, a specific kind of career was communicated to women as being most suitable for them: motherhood and separate, traditional gender roles were conveyed as being vital to the survival of the nation. It was generally understood that war was an exceptional circumstance necessitating women working outside the home, but Australian media dialogue generally supported the idea that the most appropriate way for women to contribute to the war effort was by carrying on as normal, with the family, in the home. In addition, women entering the workforce were still expected to display nurturing feminine traits and play supporting roles to men. In Australia during the 1940s, the fiction in the Australian Women’s Weekly helped to communicate specific duties women were expected to fulfil as loyal Australians: wife, mother, and helpmeet. It is important to note that women’s magazines contribute significantly to the creation of female identities and can be considered ‘agents of socialisation’ (Ferguson, 1983, p. 2). The three short stories analysed in this paper are an example of the way in which the Australian Women’s Weekly helped to construct a female working identity that centred on women providing support for men. Women’s
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main occupation, even if they worked outside the home, was preserving the nation by assisting men.
Social Climate Fiction is produced at a particular time in a particular context. Although writing always stands alone, sometimes greater understanding of a piece of writing can be discovered if time and place are also considered. Therefore, it is valuable to assess historical events happening at the same time a piece of writing is created. During the 1940s, Australia, like the rest of the world, suffered upheaval as a result of the war. National unity, patriotism, and duty to the nation became imperative: When war was declared in 1939 citizens were required to fill in National Register cards. On these cards were to be listed occupations, qualifications and skills. The object of this registration…, the people were told, was to ensure that individuals did what they were most suited to do to help the nation in its hour of need (Adam-Smith, 1984, p. 320). Despite the number of women with practical qualifications, for example, nurses, women were told that the best place for them was in the home (Adam-Smith, 1984, p. 320). It was expected that citizens would pull together to get through the war, and, as Summers has noted, in Australia ‘most women are defined by their family relationships’ (Summers, 2002, p. 77). The nuclear family was the only legitimate familial structure, so, generally speaking, during the 1940s, women’s duty to the nation was seen as supporting their families, and, of course, populating Australia. This was contrasted to the Australian male tradition, which focused on mateship and masculinity. Men were soldiers and women had supporting roles. The dominant attitude in public discourse was that women’s rightful place was in the home, and the best occupation they could ever have was as wife and mother. In government advertisements, commercial advertisements, newspaper articles, and magazines there was enormous importance placed on women, as wives and mothers, being responsible for the survival of the nation, as Campbell observes, ‘With the crisis came also an immediate pressure for men and women to revert to traditional roles’ (Campbell, 1989, p. 39). Women were expected to look after the moral growth of their children; therefore, they were expected to uphold conservative standards in order to maintain the strength and survival of the country. Of course, women did work outside the home, and it did become socially acceptable for women, even mothers, to work during the war, but there was a general pressure on women to feel that it was not right and women’s labour was only good if it was cheaper than men’s (Adam-Smith, 1984, pp. 140-141). Female independence was considered a nuisance as well as wrong. Seen as associated with working women and independence, female sexuality became perceived as a threat to the male dominated, nuclear family ideal. As many young women were intent on enjoying life whilst they could, it was perceived that women’s morality, and therefore the nation’s morality, was being destroyed by women who were, during the disruption of war, becoming less afraid of pre-marital sex: ‘It was obvious that the moral codes, social customs and standards of personal behaviour which had been fairly rigidly controlled by family and community pressure before the war were no longer holding’ (Campbell, 1989, p. 91). As war increased people’s awareness of their own vulnerability, and it became important to live for the moment, social limitations and good girl reputations did not appear to be as important. There was an increase in illegitimate births (especially when the US soldiers were in
Creating Working Women
town), and an increase in venereal disease. These increases were blamed on women, and so ‘Government legislation, including anti-venereal disease campaigns and intensified policing of prostitution, was introduced to proscribe the sexuality of young women’ (Darian-Smith, 1995, p. 121). Female independence was a direct threat to masculine Australia, and ‘In late 1945, a strong drive was put in motion by the federal government to restore to women the persona of homemaker and mother’ (Campbell, 1989, p. 107). Morality, purity, and motherhood were idealised – for the good of the nation. In advertisements, news items, and fiction women were characterised as beautiful souls waiting for the return of their strong soldier men (Lake & Damousi, 1995, p. 3). Discourse and textual representations split women in Australia into two categories: Damned Whores or God’s Police (Summers, 2002, p. 198), and this split was heightened during wartime because of the perception that women’s sexuality needed to be controlled (Campbell, 1989, p. 6). Women either upheld conservative ideals, or they were labelled immoral. God’s Police preserved Australia’s morality: Damned Whores destroyed it, and were not considered real women. Significantly, in wartime, God’s Police became more important as inspirational patriotic images. Male sexuality was condoned, but in Brisbane a female lock-down VD clinic, of which the Queensland Government was extremely proud (Saunders, 1993, p. 101), was developed. Men were treated at a day clinic, but women were kept under lock and key until they were cured (Saunders, 1993, p. 83). There was also some discussion about shaving the heads of women who were treated for VD more than once (Campbell, 1989, p. 107). Women’s sexual experiences outside of marriage were considered subversive activities – subversive to the war effort, to society, and to Australia as a nation (Saunders, 1993, p. 90). So, although in one sense women were becoming freer, as they were able to work outside of the home, in another sense their lives were becoming more restricted as attitudes about gender roles became more conservative in the name of patriotism. Alongside official attempts to control women’s sexuality, the Australian Women’s Weekly also contributed to creating a chaste and patriotic population by strongly advocating a conservative image of femininity: an image of God’s Police. The Weekly’s editors made a concerted effort to maintain a tone of cheerfulness despite the war (O’Brien, 1982, p. 87); making the best of a bad situation is, of course, what God’s Police do! The Weekly’s pages contained hopes, dreams, and ideals which centred on the home and family. In this way, the Australian Women’s Weekly was, as O’Brien comments, ‘unashamedly propagandist’ in its position regarding women’s duty to the nation (O’Brien, 1982, p. 79). In the Weekly, the issue of women working outside the home was discussed, and, eventually, it was accepted that women worked outside the home. In addition, being part of the armed services came to be considered admirable. The question about unfinished housework and lonely husbands, however, continued to be asked: ‘The fear that women’s competence in the public world at work would prove to be a barrier to heterosexual relations was always present in the women’s world of the Weekly’ (Sheridan, Baird, Barret, & Ryan, 2002, p. 70). Advertisements, advice columns, feature articles all pointed in the same direction: pleasing men. In addition, the Weekly made a point of including short stories that advocated romantic love, marriage, and motherhood. Although the Weekly allowed women to discuss social changes, and was in many ways quite radical, the fiction it published generally promoted marriage and love as being the best career for women,
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and that romantic love was the key to happiness (Sheridan et al., 2002, p. 30). The female occupation, and, therefore, proper female identity, promoted by the Weekly was one of eternal optimism and dedication to serving the nation by way of supporting husbands and children. During the war, one of the methods used to inspire patriotism in Australians was literature. Sir Keith Murdoch, operating under the Department of Information, had complete control over censorship of the media, ensuring that only positive news items/ stories reached the eyes and ears of the Australian public (Pearce, 1998, p. 100). Australian writers were encouraged to produce typically Australian works: that is, pieces that were optimistic and had recognisable images and symbols of Australia (for example, the outback, bush life, red-earth, kangaroos, and gum trees). As Summers has pointed out, literature typically contains cultural symbols of its country ‘which have an enduring and often a determining effect on the image a country has of itself’ (Summers, 2002, p. 82). So, during the 1940s, the literary focus in Australia was on positive images of the land and its people. As well as this, the ABC ran a radio series called ‘Australian Writers Speak,’ where major Australian writers were invited to discuss what made Australian literature distinctive. Furthermore, a short story competition was run, where people were told that only cheerful stories would be considered. Keeping in line with this, the Weekly also only published optimistic and light-hearted stories.
Three ‘Women’s Weekly’ stories The three stories analysed in this paper are from 1943, and although I am only looking at three stories from one year, they do represent the typical type of short story found in the Weekly during the 1940s. In the Weekly, women were passive in love; they were allowed to indicate that they were unattached, but, if they wanted their reputations to stay intact, they could not take the initiative in a romantic union. Men were supposed to control the situation and women were supposed to wait for men to take the lead. Love was old-fashioned and, therefore, was not about calculated decisions but being swept off your feet by a strong man; it was about romantic love and male domination (Finch, 1995, p. 109). Significantly, love and romance defined femininity, and sexual intercourse was something that only happened within marriage, and only because you loved your husband: ‘Sex, romance and marriage were firmly connected, according to the Weekly during these years, as being central to femininity’ (Sheridan et al., 2002, p. 30). True Australian women knew that they had to produce the future of the nation by bringing up children within a loving nuclear family environment, and the Weekly endorsed this belief: ‘Motherhood was central to the domestic ideal of femininity. Always, in the Weekly, there is the assumption that all readers were or would be mothers, sooner or later, and that motherhood is central to women’s lives and to their femininity’ (Sheridan et al., 2002, p. 42). These ideas and themes are central in the fiction published in the Weekly. One reason why I think an analysis of the Weekly during the 1940s is so important is that not only did the Weekly reinforce conservative ideals that encouraged women to take up careers as wives and mothers, but its wide distribution and readership (in 1937 there were over 360 000 copies sold) meant that it was a large section of the female population being exposed to ideals that strengthen patriarchal control. In addition, Spender suggests that, since colonial times, girls in Australia have used fiction to gain
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knowledge about the world and how to behave in it (Spender, 1988, p. 220). The communication to huge numbers of Australian women that romance, marriage, and motherhood are correct and natural is interesting because these ideas are presented as truth. The Weekly’s endorsement of marriage and romantic love can be seen as a deliberate effort to convince women that the best career choice for them was family life and domesticity (happiness achieved by pleasing others), as Sheridan et al., Finch, Summers, and O’Brien have all suggested. The three Weekly stories analysed portray this particular image of femininity quite clearly. ‘Dearest’ by Mary Maddison (1943, January 9), accompanied by an illustration of a woman in her immaculately kept home, has written underneath its title, ‘People had told her a woman can’t love two people at once – but Stella knew they were wrong’ (Maddison, 1943, p. 2). This teaser was written with the purpose of raising immediate implications of infidelity, deception, confusion, and, romantic love, but within the safe environment of fiction. Women could read about risk taking and adventure without having to deal with the consequences, which, in the Australian environment, were severe. The story begins with the arrival of a mysterious letter for Stella: The postman had given her the letter and she had tucked it into her overall pocket quickly, as if even the postman must know what was in the letter, as if her guilt was apparent to even his kindly old eyes. (Maddison, 1943, p. 2) Stella has been waiting anxiously for the arrival of the letter because its contents will help her decide whether to stay with Ted, or leave him for John. The way her actions are described, and the admittance that she feels guilty, reinforces the assumption that Stella is one of those Damned Whores who is bad for Australian morale, but whose actions are exciting, nonetheless. Stella is positive that John will ask her to go to him, and ‘She knew, too, with a swift sinking of her heart, that if he asked her she would go. Such was his power over her’ (Maddison, 1943, p. 2). The mention of John’s power over her does redeem her slightly, though, as, in the Weekly women are characterised as helpless under the power of love. Stella does comment to herself that she loves Ted as much as she ever did through all the years of their marriage, but this does not stop her from ‘deliberately planning’ (Maddison, 1943, p. 2) to leave him for John – she has a packed suitcase ready under the bed. However, whilst planning her departure from Ted, she thinks with horror about how helpless he’ll be without her. Who will cook his meals, find his wallet for him, or remind him to put on a coat when he goes out? What happens if Ted catches a cold? Just as a good wife should, Stella frets about his welfare, not her own, reinforcing the idea that husbands are helpless and hopeless without their wives. Husbands need wives to look after them, so women and their domestic abilities are necessary and invaluable to men. Stella, as a wife, is necessary and invaluable to Ted. She thinks about Ted’s possible reaction to her leaving and wonders, ‘Much as he loved her, would his love be wide enough to include this desertion, this utter disregard of all his love and devotion?’ (Maddison, 1943, p. 2). As Stella says, ‘She was Ted’s wife – and a wife has her duty no matter what happens’ (Maddison, 1943, p. 2). But, the reader is not given any explanation for Stella’s decision to leave Ted other than her love for John. However much she ‘hated and despised herself’ (Maddison, 1943, p. 2), she was still going to go to John.
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At the end of the story, though, it is revealed that John is the couple’s young son who has been evacuated to the country. The letter, that has made her feel so guilty, tells Stella that John is fine – the other boys are getting sixpence from their parents, and could he please have sixpence as well (Maddison, 1943, p. 2) – so she does not have to leave Ted, after all. Readers are deliberately misdirected into believing Stella is about to leave her husband for another man; they are led on by the idea of Stella being a Damned Whore and the dangers of having some autonomy in life. However, order is restored and Stella redeemed when readers realise that Stella’s love for her husband can only be eclipsed by her love for her child. Instead of being a bad, unpatriotic woman, Stella is looking after the best interests of Australia by wanting to make sure her son is happy and healthy. She has made sure he is safe by sending him out of the city, and she is prepared to go to him if he is unhappy. In addition, Stella’s concerns about Ted’s helplessness without her reinforce women’s obligation to look after their husbands, to put their husband’s welfare above their own. Stella is empowered by her role as wife and mother, and she is given worth in her role. It is Stella’s job to make sure that Ted feels happy, warm, and loved; it is her job to ensure he does not catch a cold. Stella’s love for her husband and son are proved by her ability to guarantee their comfort. Her feelings and wellbeing – and her happiness – are centred on her husband and child. She can be proud because she is doing her job well, and she is a good example of femininity at work. ‘He Pleaded Guilty’ by Francis Blake (1943, January 23), apart from the reference to his guilt, again emphasises the need for women’s loyalty to their families. Mary, alone in London for a week’s leave from the WRENs, bumps into her old friend, Grace, and Grace’s husband, Edward. Grace and Edward are obviously the best of friends and their marriage is described as a ‘good alliance’ (Blake, 1943, p. 3). Mary, however, is miserable and vulnerable, different to the Mary Grace used to know, who was ‘too fearlessly sure of herself and her conquering beauty’ (Blake, 1943, p. 3). Here, women’s self-confidence is portrayed as negative as it is implied that Mary’s pride has caused her some harm. Although the reader is not told anything specific, there are hints that Mary has been hurt in some way. Grace and Edward decide to take her with them for the weekend to a country home owned by Mr and Mrs Travers. At the country house, Mary has a nice, relaxing time, enjoying the company of good people. At dinner, however, the mysterious, handsome, and womanising Charles appears. Mrs Travers had previously mentioned to the group that there have been rumours about Charles getting married, but the marriage turned out to be a terrible failure. It is made clear that Charles has ‘an appreciation of women’ (Blake, 1943, p. 3) – which, Mrs Travers comments, is not a bad thing, as long as you know how to manage a man who likes women. She believes that if you give them a free rein, they soon come back to you (Blake, 1943, p. 3), and, after all, a man with spirit is far more appealing than a weak man. Everyone is delighted by Charles’s arrival, except Mary who ‘felt like a pebble that refuses to be dislodged as she silently resisted his charm’ (Blake, 1943, p. 4). Although Grace and Mrs Travers are open and friendly to Charles, because all women adore him (Blake, 1943, p. 3), Mary remains mute, preferring to listen and not betray her feelings. Mrs Travers finally convinces Charles to tell them about his marriage, and he does, explaining sheepishly that he acted very badly. He resented his wife because she was very jealous about other women, so he decided to invite to dinner all the women his wife had been jealous of, just to show her that they meant nothing to
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him. Unfortunately, he was called away that evening (he is a navy man), and when he came home three weeks later he found his wife had left him. Mary tells him that she would have acted the same as his wife: ‘‘In her place I should have thought as she did – that you didn’t rate her any higher than the rest’’ (Blake, 1943, p. 4). Charles admits quietly that he had never thought of it from that point of view. Charles then asks Mary to take a walk in the garden, and there is a definite hint of romance. When the couple are alone, though, he says to her, ‘‘My darling wife…Mary – can I hope – at all? I’ve missed you so terribly. I long for you’’ (Blake, 1943, p. 4). Instantly, the reason for Mary’s misery becomes clear. Mary confesses that she has missed him too, and that she will always love him, but she tells Charles with a tear in her eye, ‘‘ I’m afraid I shall always be an idiot – about other women’’ (Blake, 1943, p. 4). Again, readers find they have been deliberately misdirected. It is only at the end that the reader realises Mary has been miserable because of Charles, but not, however, because he has treated her badly. As Charles cannot help being nice to women because he appreciates them, Mary’s misery is the fault of her foolish pride: it is her fault she dislikes his behaviour towards other women. She is the one who was too sure of herself and her beauty. As Charles’s faithful wife, she had a responsibility to stay by his side and ignore his attention to other women. As Mrs Travers’s sound advice suggests, if you give men a free rein they turn out alright in the end. Mary did not do her job as wife well because she made her husband feel resentful towards her, and, as well as that, she deserted him. Wives gain worth through their support of their husbands; they should definitely not make their husbands feel as if they are behaving inappropriately. Mary’s pride has made the couple miserable, and it is only through luck that the couple have ended up back together. Although Mary admits that she is always going to be an idiot about other women, she now recognises her behaviour as a fault, and can do something to curb it. She can now become a good Australian wife. Phyllis Duganne’s ‘Summer Snowball’ (1943, January 16) is structured differently to the other two stories, as the reader is not deliberately misled. Instead, the story focuses on the moral of women being optimistic in the face of misery. Millie is upset to hear that a boy she was keen on has just become engaged. She bursts into tears, reflecting that Edward was the only boy to ever show any interest in her ‘and once he had bought her a box of chocolates’ (Duganne, 1943, p. 2). She placed a lot of hope and meaning on Edward’s box of chocolates, and so is distraught to find him engaged to someone else. Millie is intent on feeling sorry for herself, and wallows in sorrow in the thought that she was twenty-five but had never had a proposal of marriage. Jean Hillyer, another young woman living in the same building, tells Millie not to be so silly and to stop worrying. She says that Millie really is not bad looking, she just needs to pay more attention to men – it is her fault she is without an admirer. Jean helps Millie by lending her some clothes and teaching her some make-up tricks; Jean passes her knowledge of femininity onto to Millie. This motivates Millie to change her behaviour and her attitude, to become a better woman by attracting a man. She aims to make men take more notice of her by being cheerful. At breakfast the next morning, Millie notices that the place where she lives is ‘depressingly female’ (Duganne, 1943, p. 2), which implies that too much female company is not healthy. So, as she leaves the building, Millie gives the doorman a
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wonderful smile, because he is a man, and comments merrily about the weather. Significantly, despite having a reputation as a grim man, the doorman returns her smile. Encouraged by this, on her walk to work, Millie continues to smile and act happy. Her good mood is presented as intoxicating and contagious, and all the men smile back at her: ‘She knew how a snowball must feel being rolled downhill, growing bigger and bigger, and she trembled with excitement and expectancy’ (Duggan, 1943, p. 3). Her positive energy is making her look and feel more attractive to men; that is, she is showing her availability and her willingness to become involved in a romance. She is being cheerful so the male gaze can notice her and find her appealing: Millie is presenting herself to men in a legitimate and feminine way. Soon, she is greeted by a young man in a sports car, who offers her a ride to work. She cannot believe her good luck, accepting the invitation willingly – which is interesting, considering the damage her actions could have had on her reputation. In the world of the Weekly, though, Millie is safe because her intentions are to find a husband, not to engage in meaningless sexual relations. After a brief conversation with the young man, she is shocked to find that he is not a complete stranger after all, and he purposely drove around that morning looking for her. Again, in the world of the Weekly, his actions are presented as flattering, not as the actions of a man deliberately stalking a young woman. He confesses that after they met briefly at a cocktail party he wanted to get to know her, but he was too afraid to ask her out. When he saw her smiling and happy this morning, though, he managed to find the courage to talk to her, and finally ask her on a date. Millie’s plan to act out appropriate femininity in order to attract an admirer has worked. She has made herself attractive to the male gaze and has won In the beginning, Millie was not succeeding in her job as female because she was not presentable enough to attract a young man. It is made clear that she is perfectly goodlooking, so the problem was merely Millie’s serious (and perhaps desperate) attitude. Millie, as a mopey, miserable girl, was stuck in a depressingly female world. When she decides to appear cheerful, though, her life starts to become more positive. Women need to appear cheerful and optimistic if they want to be happy and have men notice them! Happiness and fulfilment is, of course, brought about by having a young man of your own. Mary does not turn to her female acquaintances for comfort or fun. On the contrary, in order to be truly happy, she must escape the all-female world as quickly as possible. Women are only necessary to each other as educators of feminine arts, to pass on knowledge of how to get a man, as Jean’s instruction of Millie illustrates. Millie’s duty to the nation is to carry out her feminine career, and so, escaping the depressing female world is presented as the correct kind of action because Millie is rewarded with a dinner date.
Conclusion Attitudes and behaviour are communicated through culture, what people see, hear, and speak every day. In this way, the fiction of the Australian Women’s Weekly contributed to the construction of a female identity that promotes the best career for women as being marriage and motherhood. In all three stories, because the women end up conforming to accepted behaviours, they are rewarded. Stella was prepared to drop everything to go to her son, and so is rewarded by being allowed to stay home and look after her husband. Mary recognises her mistake in being an idiot over other
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women, and so is reunited with her husband. Millie understands that it is her duty to be noticed by men, and is rewarded with an admirer. Popular culture and public discourse in 1940s Australia quite clearly showed that women would be blamed and punished if they did not conform to accepted conservative feminine ideals. Morality was a woman’s job and so Australian women had to believe in keeping virtuous. It was important, therefore, to portray women experiencing domestic bliss, being truly happy and empowered serving their families, and, therefore, their nation.
References Adam-Smith, P. (1984). Australian women at war. Melbourne: Nelson. Blake, F. (1943, January 23). He pleaded guilty. The Australian Women’s Weekly, pp. 3-4. Campbell, R. (1989). Heroes and lovers: A question of national identity. Sydney: Allen & Unwin. Cherland, M. R. (1994). Private practices: Girls reading fiction and constructing identity. London: Taylor & Francis. Darian-Smith, K. (1995). Remembering Romance: Memory, gender and World War II. In J. Damousi and M. Lake (Eds). Gender and war: Australians at war in the twentieth century (pp. 105-116). Melbourne: Cambridge University Press. Duggan, P. (1943, January 16). Summer snowball. The Australian Women’s Weekly, p. 2. Ferguson, M. (1983). Forever feminine: Women’s magazines and the cult of femininity. London: Heinemann Educational Books Ltd. Finch, Lyn. (1995). Consuming passions: Romance and consumerism during World War II. In J. Damousi and M. Lake (Eds). Gender and war: Australians at war in the twentieth century (pp. 105-116). Melbourne: Cambridge University Press. Lake, M. & Damousi, J. (1995). Warfare, history and gender. In J. Damousi and M. Lake (Eds). Gender and war: Australians at war in the twentieth century (pp. 1-20). Melbourne: Cambridge University Press. Maddison, M. (1943, January 9). Dearest. The Australian Women’s Weekly, p. 2. Meyers, M. (1999). Fracturing women. In M. Meyers (Ed.). Mediated women: Representations in popular culture (pp. 3-22). New Jersey: Hampton Press, Inc. Pearce, S. (1998). Shameless scribblers: Australian women’s journalism 18801995. Rockhampton: Central Queensland University Press. Saunders, K. (1993). War on the homefront: State intervention in Queensland 1938 – 1948. Brisbane, Australia: University of Queensland Press. Sheridan, S., Baird, B., Borrett, K., & Ryan, L. (2002). Who was that woman? The Australian Women’s Weekly in the postwar years. Sydney, Australia: University of New South Wales Press Ltd. Summers, A. (2002). Damned whores and God’s police: Women’s lives in Australia (2nd ed.). Camberwell, Australia: Penguin. Address for correspondence Anne-Marie Tokley Dept of Communication and Journalism College of Business Massey University, Wellington Private Bag 756
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