Wandering thoughts' : the writing experience of working-class housewives in 1970s Milan
Title: Wandering thoughts' : the writing experience of working-class housewives in 1970s Milan
Author: FRISONE, Anna
Citation: Gender and history, 2018, Vol. 30, No. 1, pp. 177-195
ISSN: 0953-5233; 1468-0424
This article analyses the writing experiments conducted in Milan by a group of working-class housewives in the 1970s. These women took advantage of the opportunity won by trade unions (so-called 'educational right') to go back to school and engage again with education. Their course was taught by Lea Melandri, a prominent figure in the feminist movement who placed student writing at the heart of her teaching method, revealing housewives unexpected talents. Writing proved to be a powerful medium to reflect on their daily lives. Through a highly self-reflexive approach, they were able to deconstruct and criticise their role in society, denouncing, on the one hand the deprivation of freedom they suffered because of their circumstances, and on the other, the injustice of a system where the reproductive tasks they performed were invariably undervalued as 'non-productive. This led them to problematise the tricky border between the private and public sphere, though this was never a painless or consistent process. Analysing a combination of archival, video and oral sources, my aim is to shed light on the turning-point represented by this experience both for these women's lives and for our understanding of second-wave feminism.
First published: 13 March 2018
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