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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: October 2019

4 - Family Guidance, Domestic Technology, and the Modern Housewife

from Part II - Agents of Correlation and Change


This chapter is concerned with ways in which Iranian women’s magazines conveyed the idea of "the modern woman" while presenting themselves as family guides and experts to modern day living. Appealing to the family, provided these magazines a traditional and familiar framework to present divergent notions of womanhood by a range of experts, and simultaneously debate with their audiences on them. Catering the family and the re-signification of the housewife’s status within the confines of the home by way of enhanced scientific motherhood, glamorizing technological domestic labor, and maternal nationalism, was a form of symbolic defense against perceived threats to older values and fears, especially with women entering into the salaried workforce in swelling numbers. While the magazines expressed their absolute support of women’s education, they were more ambivalent toward women’s work outside the home. Their depiction of the domestic sphere in the 1960s and 1970s continued to convey the conservative ideology of “a good wife and educated mother” that had been cultivated in previous decades. At the same time, they underscored women’s civic duties and role in the Pahlavi campaign of pre-Islamic national revivalism.