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Rethinking Therapeutic Culture$
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Timothy Aubry and Trysh Travis

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226249933

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226250274.001.0001

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(p.85) Chapter 6 Confessions
Rethinking Therapeutic Culture

Badia Ahad

University of Chicago Press

This chapter examines the popular magazine, Tan Confessions, created by John H. Johnson and Johnson Publications in November 1950. Arguing that Tan Confessions functioned as an alternative space of therapeutic culture for working class African-American women who were excluded from private therapeutic care due to financial limitations and racist practices, this chapter points to the confessions genre as a forum that provided a subversive, if mediated, method of “self-help.” It also asserts that while the stories in Tan Confessions eagerly advanced the social and sexual conservatism of the post-World War II era, these "true-to-life" narratives offered a discourse of the bizarre, the absurd, and the deviant. They thus provided a public, social space in which African American women proffered alternative insights into black female sexuality.

Keywords:   black women, sexuality, Tan Confessions, magazines, self-help, confession, print culture, black respectability

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