Gendered Perspectives on Men's Changing Familial Roles in Postwar England, c.1950–1990

TitleGendered Perspectives on Men's Changing Familial Roles in Postwar England, c.1950–1990
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsDavis, Angela, and Laura King
JournalGender & History
Pagination70 - 92
Date Published03/2018

This article explores the place of men in the home in post‐war England, examining men and women's subjective accounts of men's role as husbands and fathers. The analysis is based on oral history testimonies with men and women about their perspectives on the role of men from the viewpoint of sons and daughters, wives and mothers, and from men themselves. As such, the paper adds a new dimension to gender histories of this period, by closely examining men and women's perspectives on the same issue, and interrogating how this influenced family life. Focusing on three themes – family planning and conception; pregnancy and childbirth; and infant care – this article argues that the changes both men and women pointed to around fatherhood (such as being present at childbirth and more involved in infant care) must be set within deep gendered continuities. The sense of change was often greater than the actual change in men's behaviours, and whilst the roles of mother and father were evolving, a strong distinction between these remained. Men highlighted the expertise and ultimate authority of women in family matters, whilst women continued to articulate men's roles within family life as secondary to their own. 

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