HIST211

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The 1960s in America are representative of a movement away from a conservative post-World War II atmosphere and into a revolutionary era of struggle and progressive reform. For women in particular, the decade of the 60s represents a continuation of post-war feminist ideals and an accompanying shift away from the cult of domesticity. For many women, regardless of ethnicity or socioeconomic status, the various social activism movements motivated by the second wave of feminism brought about new levels of public consciousness regarding women’s discrimination and gender equality which in turn led to tangible legislative reform like the passage of the Equal Pay Act, Title IX and the Civil Rights Act.
In the context of the women’s reform movement, issues of Seventeen Magazine published in the 1960s act as historical documents that highlight a gradual but significant value shift from the oppressive gender-segregated culture of the 1950s to a more reformed gender-progressive culture concerned with women’s empowerment. This is not to say that women’s platform for gender-equality in the 60s was immediately or wholly embraced, as public opinion (particularly among male-dominated government and industry) presented serious barriers to equality. That being said, the content within Seventeen issues published in 1961 reflect the dynamic and evolving expectations for women in a time period when major progressive changes were close on the horizon.
The content within Seventeen in 1961, targeted toward the daughters of the baby boomer generation entering into adolescence and young adulthood during the early 60s, offers a unique insight into the values of a generation of young women who would help usher in change. It’s important to note, however, that...

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...p-outs.” McCaffrey’s assertion that forsaking higher education for marriage is illogical (since statistically, higher numbers of educated women get married compared to uneducated women) conveys the message to young women that sacrificing their education for love is foolish.
This concept of highlighting the value of education for women extends to Seventeen’s recommended reading section as well. In the August 1961 “Curl Up and Read” section in particular, author Helen First makes scholarly, sophisticated recommendations such as Abram Kardiner and Edward Preble’s They Studied Man (a history of cultural anthropology and society in the context of Freud’s psychological theories), Race and Science (a scientific anthology concerning race relations, racial myths, the gene theory of heredity), Psychology of Literature and The Art of James Joyce (a collection of paintings).

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