Presentation Title

“Digging for Victory”: Nurturing New Ideas of Gender Roles through Victory Gardens, 1914-1960

Location

Atrium

Session Format

Poster Presentation

Research Area Topic:

Humanities & Social Sciences - History

Abstract

“Digging for Victory”:

Nurturing New Ideas of Gender Roles Through Victory Gardens, 1914-1960

Before World War I, the household structure was very rigid and hierarchical. Women living in this patriarchal society were expected to assume roles in which they took care of the household, the children, and sometimes managed the household’s finances. Although women held such huge responsibility, men made most of the major household decisions. The onset of World War I altered this way of life as men had to abandon their jobs and their homes to participate in the war. Subsequently, women on the home front had to adopt the traditional male role of the provider. One of the ways women provided for their families was through cultivating backyard or community victory gardens.

My research question asks how the implementation of victory gardens across the United States during the World Wars led to changes in gender identities and roles of women? My approach to answering this question includes an archival methodology in which I will analyze propaganda posters, photos from the time period, and advertisements from the Ladies Home Journal. To supplement the archival sources, I have also read gender theory that analyzes this monumentally important period in which women reevaluated their roles in society. This project makes a valuable contribution to feminist theory and explores how planting victory gardens helped women cultivate a greater sense of self-worth.

Keywords

World war I, World war II, Women, Victory gardens, Gender roles, Feminism, Gender identity, Environmental history

Presentation Type and Release Option

Presentation (Open Access)

Start Date

4-24-2015 10:45 AM

End Date

4-24-2015 12:00 PM

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Apr 24th, 10:45 AM Apr 24th, 12:00 PM

“Digging for Victory”: Nurturing New Ideas of Gender Roles through Victory Gardens, 1914-1960

Atrium

“Digging for Victory”:

Nurturing New Ideas of Gender Roles Through Victory Gardens, 1914-1960

Before World War I, the household structure was very rigid and hierarchical. Women living in this patriarchal society were expected to assume roles in which they took care of the household, the children, and sometimes managed the household’s finances. Although women held such huge responsibility, men made most of the major household decisions. The onset of World War I altered this way of life as men had to abandon their jobs and their homes to participate in the war. Subsequently, women on the home front had to adopt the traditional male role of the provider. One of the ways women provided for their families was through cultivating backyard or community victory gardens.

My research question asks how the implementation of victory gardens across the United States during the World Wars led to changes in gender identities and roles of women? My approach to answering this question includes an archival methodology in which I will analyze propaganda posters, photos from the time period, and advertisements from the Ladies Home Journal. To supplement the archival sources, I have also read gender theory that analyzes this monumentally important period in which women reevaluated their roles in society. This project makes a valuable contribution to feminist theory and explores how planting victory gardens helped women cultivate a greater sense of self-worth.