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Globalizing American Studies$
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Brian T. Edwards and Gaonkar Dilip Parameshwar

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780226185064

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: February 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226185088.001.0001

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Cold War, Hot Kitchen

Cold War, Hot Kitchen

Alice Childress, Natalya Baranskaya, and the Speakin' Place of Cold War Womanhood

(p.135) [Four] Cold War, Hot Kitchen
Globalizing American Studies

Kate Baldwin

University of Chicago Press

The iconic housewife is a “combination of mainstream recognition, wide circulation, and textural impact” which positions her as a site for ideological relay and as a site of ideological excess. The iconic housewife follows the four vectors of influence as important for an iconic image: it communicates social knowledge, reproduces attendant ideology, shapes collective memory, and provides figural resources for communicative action. Americans made an effort to showcase the advances made by the United States in domestic technologies, and thus to bring the battle for technological superiority down to earth. The use of the kitchen to advertise the bounty of American consumerism quickly dispensed with the notion that the home was anything but political. The image of social unity, of universal attitudes and emotions generated from the home kitchen, actually depends on and sustains visions of domestic expansion. This chapter introduces an advertisement that helps to explain the ambivalence housed in this promise of consumer choice by the assertion of domesticity's liberating vectors. It points to the ambivalence between maternal plentitude and female absence, or the diversity of market choice held out as interpersonal intimacy.

Keywords:   housewife, iconic image, kitchen, American consumerism, domestic expansion

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