The Dialectics of Motherhood in 1950s New Zealand

Previously posted at: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0363199019855107?ai=2b4&mi=ehikzz&af=R

Journal of Family History, Ahead of Print.
While numerous historians have questioned the assumption that the 1950s were wholly conservative in terms of gender politics, few have systematically explored the nuances of debates over motherhood in particular. This article asks how depictions of motherhood in two popular New Zealand magazines reflected multiple voices that spoke of the complexities of mothers’ experiences and broader ideologies of motherhood during this era. It develops the concept of “dialectics of motherhood” in order to account for the interwoven ways in which sophisticated debates over “good” and “bad” mothers helped to propel social changes that led to the second-wave feminist movement.