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Jewish Women’s Archive on ‘Women’s Pages’ the Success of The Sisterhood

Recently, Ruth Rosen wrote in the Ms. Magazine blog that the “women’s pages” of the 1950s and 60s have been reincarnated on the Internet. While she acknowledges the differences in content between those women’s pages (society, cooking, and fashion) and today’s “women’s pages” (analytical coverage of events, trends or stories overlooked by mainstream news), she argues that the designation of separate women’s sections keeps us tied to the assumption that women’s stories don’t belong on the front page.

In response to Rosen, Kim Voss wrote in to remind us that the “women’s pages” of the 1950s and 60s were more than just “society, cooking, and fashion” fluff. She argues that by mixing bits of the progressive in with the traditional, women’s page editors were able to get their serious content about women’s liberation published and reach women previously unexposed to feminism. I would add that The American Jewess was taking this approach way back in 1896. Its editor, Rosa Sonneschein, was mixing progressive feminist content with homemaking, health, and beauty tips.

Leah Berkenwald is the online communications specialist at the Jewish Women’s Archive, and a contributor to its Jewesses With Attitude blog, which cross-posts weekly with the Sisterhood.

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