Politics of the Pantry: Housewives, Food, and Consumer Protest in Twentieth-Century America

Product Details
Oxford University Press, USA
Publish Date
6.2 X 0.8 X 9.6 inches | 0.93 pounds
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About the Author
Emily E. LB. Twarog is an Assistant Professor Labor Studies and American History in the School of Labor and Employment Relations at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

"Who knew that American housewives were up in arms throughout the last century about rising food prices and misleading package information. Twarog traces the history of how these movements developed, their connections to unions and women's auxiliaries, and how twentieth-century politics systematically destroyed them. Her book has much to teach us about what's needed to preserve--and strengthen--today's food movements."--Marion Nestle, author of Soda Politics: Taking on Big Soda (and Winning)

"Politics of the Pantry puts breadmakers, not breadwinners, at the center of American women's activism. By capturing the recurrent struggles over food from the 1930s to the 1970s, this beautiful, illuminating study shows how women used their supposedly dependent status as housewives to assert political power and secure a more just, prosperous society. An important revisioning of feminism and feminist history."--Dorothy Sue Cobble, author of The Other Women's Movement

"Politics of the Pantry makes an original and well-researched contribution to the historical literature by examining 'the rise and fall of the housewife, ' not as a private, domesticated figure but as a public, activist figure. By treating the home rather than the workplace as the site of struggle and by depicting consumption rather than production as a central public act, Twarog turns the usual approach of labor history on its head, with thought-provoking implications."--Lawrence Glickman, Cornell University

"For Twarog, women derived the gravitas they needed to speak out on political issues from their role as homemakers who had to make financial ends meet...The housewives of the consumers movement...worried about maintaining their lifestyle and saw feminism not as a means of salvation but as a threat. In perhaps the most important part of her story to the development of our current ideological structure, Twarog explains in great detail how second-wave feminism failed to connect with housewives more concerned about meat prices than fishes and bicycles...This provided, Twarog explains, an opportunity for 'traditional family values' activists like Phyllis Schlafly to take up the mantle of the housewife."--Kristin Kanthak, Journal of Politics