Modern Wife, Modern Life: an Exhibition of Women's Magazines from 1960s Ireland
Curated by Ciara Meehan.
Modern Wife, Modern Life at dlr LexIcon explores the ‘ideal wife’ turned ‘modern wife’ in 1960s Ireland. Curated by Ciara Meehan (University of Hertfordshire), it focuses on the representation of Irish housewives in the pages of Woman’s Way, Woman’s View and Woman’s Choice magazines. In addition to the magazines, a series of objects—many of which are loan from the Irish public—are also on display.
Manuals on how to be a good wife had been widely available in Ireland at the start of the twentieth century, but with the emergence of new technologies, the advice extended to newly married women and housewives began to change in the 1960s. The concept of being an ‘ideal wife’ became closely bound up with being a ‘modern wife’. This is best identified in the pages of the women’s magazines that came to replace the traditional manual as a source for guidance. The message, driven by the advertisers, was clear: a ‘good wife’ was not just beautifully presented, but also used all the latest ‘modern’ devices. Her home – especially the kitchen – was an extension of her appearance and reputation. ‘Modern life’ and ‘modern wife’ became blended into the one ideal.
The exhibition is arranged into eight sections:
- Inspiration behind the exhibition
- Print Culture
- Advice for Newly Married Wives
- Beauty and Presentation
- Housewife of the Year competition
- New Technologies
- Women Behind the Wheel
- Wives who Work
dlr LexIcon, Level 5 3 Oct.-14 Nov. 2015
Modern Wife, Modern Life, which first opened at the National Print Museum in July 2015, is now touring and will go to the UK in 2016.
The exhibition is generously funded by the National Print Museum,
the University of Hertfordshire, and those individuals who supported a crowd-funding campaign.