By Maureen Honey
The New Woman-an self sustaining, nontraditional, frequently career-minded girl for whom marriage and relations have been secondary-became a favored heroine in women’s journal fiction from the time of worldwide conflict I in the course of the Nineteen 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 pictures of ladies in public job. The tales during this assortment are drawn from the most important periodicals of the day-Ladies’ domestic magazine, Cosmopolitan, reliable housework, Woman’s domestic significant other, and McCall’s-as good because the African-American journal The predicament. every one tale is rooted in a few measurement of up to date feminism and explores a subject matter of constant value, corresponding to cohesion between ladies, the lives of girls of colour and working-class ladies, sexual harassment, lesbian love, kinfolk and marital bonds, and women’s relation to paid employment.
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Additional info for Breaking the Ties That Bind: Popular Stories of the New Woman, 1915-1930
Illustrating such an orientation, the women in this collection travel to New York City, Chicago, and Sacramento in pursuit of meaningful vocations and autonomy. The flight from a small town, where the heroine's mother endured a selfless, unstimulating existence, signals the shattering of an old consensus about the nature of women and progress. Many early feminists maintained that women rightly occupied a unique space, separate from the world created by men. 42 Both Rosalind Rosenberg and Nancy F.
Despite their contradictions and biases toward white, middle-class, heterosexual characters, these New Woman sto- Page 26 ries of the World War I and postsuffrage years deal seriously and progressively with many contemporary feminist issues: lack of professional advancement, sexual harassment, prostitution as alienated labor, enfeebling marital dependency, and the importance of female solidarity. Above all, they endorse a woman's right to meaningful paid work outside the home, her right to choose what her destiny is to be regardless of gender, family obligation, tradition, or prejudice.
19 Moreover, the average time it took to read one story was thirty to forty-five minutes, so anyone interested in analyzing the narrative patterns of women's magazine fiction will find merely ploughing through the raw data immensely time-consuming. In addition, most of the writers who were famous at this time have fallen into obscurity because, as with most popular literature, what they wrote fell short of critical aesthetic standards. The magazines bought formula stories, most of them romances, with archetypal characters, conventional plots, and fantasy endings; many stories were hastily and poorly written.