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Women, Periodicals and Print Culture in Britain, 1830s-1900sThe Victorian Period$
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Alexis Easley, Clare Gill, and Beth Rodgers

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781474433907

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474433907.001.0001

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Women and Family Health in the Mid-Victorian Family Magazine

Women and Family Health in the Mid-Victorian Family Magazine

(p.57) 4 Women and Family Health in the Mid-Victorian Family Magazine
Women, Periodicals and Print Culture in Britain, 1830s-1900s

Claire Furlong

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter considers domestic management in the family magazine, particularly representations of women’s roles in the treatment of health. Echoing the class-based tensions present in the rest of the essays in this section, Furlong demonstrates how working- and lower-middle-class readers were still encouraged to buy into middle-class ideals of womanhood. She also considers how these magazines worked to accommodate both the ideal and the reality of looking after the mental and physical health of the family. In functioning as dispensaries of health advice, correspondence columns emphasised the importance of practical nursing skills as part of women’s lives, which was not necessarily the case in all depictions of the feminine domestic ideal. Indeed, these magazines also contained more conventional representations of sickroom scenes and female care-givers, for example in the form of sentimentalised depictions in escapist romantic fiction. Yet, as Furlong notes, these two models were not necessarily mutually exclusive.

Keywords:   Family magazines, domestic management, health, family magazines, social class, correspondence columns

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