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Women's History Review
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Cause for concern: young women and leisure, 1930-50
Penny Tinkler
a
a
University of Manchester. United Kingdom
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Womens History Review, Volume 12, Number 2, 2003
233
Cause for Concern:
young women and leisure, 193050
PENNY TINKLER
University of Manchester, United Kingdom.
ABSTRACT During the late 1930s and throughout the 1940s the leisure of
young women attracted much interest from youth workers, psychologists and
educationalists. Indeed, in 1939 their leisure became an organised and
respectable focus of state intervention. This article addresses how, and in what
ways, the leisure of young women came to acquire significance as an issue of
concern, object of analysis, and sphere of intervention. The argument
developed here is that public approaches to young womens leisure need to be
understood in terms of the ways in which leisure was discursively
constructed during the inter-war period as a social phenomenon of
considerable significance, and how this intersected with discourses on female
adolescence within a framework of concern for the stability of British society
and democracy. Such concerns about society were strong throughout the
inter-war period but were intensified during and immediately after the Second
World War. The interconnection of these three themes of leisure,
adolescence and societal stability are illustrated with reference to discussions
in the 1930s and 1940s about what constituted the problem of young
womens leisure and suggestions concerning young womens leisure needs.
They just stroll about lamented Pearl Jephcott, the girls club leader, as she
reflected on the leisure of young women in the late 1940s; this, she was
certain, was a cause for concern.[1] Jephcott was not alone in her views
about the inadequacy of young womens leisure pursuits. Youth workers,
academics, psychologists and educationalists were all vocal on this subject
during the late 1930s and throughout the 1940s. Indeed, in 1939 the Board
of Education introduced the youth service with the clear intention of
supervising the leisure of young women and young men. In this article, I
aim to explain how young womens leisure became widely perceived as a
cause for concern in England during the late 1930s and the 1940s and I
attempt to show that the Second World War served merely as a catalyst in
bringing this problem to the fore.
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Penny Tinkler
234
In addressing the questions of how and why young womens leisure
became a cause for concern, this article approaches the subject of English
womens leisure history from a rather different angle than recent work in
this field. Challenging the male bias of traditional studies of leisure history,
much recent research on the twentieth century has drawn heavily on oral
history to offer fascinating and important insights into how girls and women
have historically defined and experienced leisure.[2] Studies of popular
literature have also furthered our understanding of the gender dimensions
of cultural production and the place of the media in the lives of girls and
women.[3] Parallel to this, there have been studies which explore aspects of
leisure policy and provision for girls by both the state and voluntary
organisations.[4] Whilst these lines of enquiry are invaluable constituents of
womens leisure history, it is also crucial that leisure historians attend to the
broader discursive frameworks within which girls leisure and womens
leisure have been historically defined and approached in the public sphere;
that is, how these specific categories of leisure have been constituted. In the
context of the 1930s and 1940s, we need to ask how, and in what ways, the
leisure of young women came to acquire significance as an issue of concern,
object of analysis, and sphere of intervention. This is important if we are to
uncover the processes through which aspects of girls and womens lives
have become the subject of public attention and regulatory policy and
practices. Such an inquiry also contributes to our understanding of the
institutionalisation of adolescence and, as Clarke & Critcher note, the
increased segmentation and institutionalisation of leisure during the
twentieth century.[5]
The argument developed here is that official and public approaches to
young womens leisure, and the importance it attained in the late 1930s and
the 1940s, need to be understood in terms of the ways in which leisure was
discursively constructed during this period and intersected with discourses
on adolescence within a framework of concern for the stability of British
society and democracy. Such concerns were strong throughout the inter-war
period but were intensified during, and immediately after, the Second World
War. The following discussion is organised in three parts. Section one
examines the way in which leisure came to be constructed as an important
area of social life during the inter-war period. Following this, section two
looks at constructions of female adolescence which both constituted the
implicit problem of young womens leisure and rationalised intervention in
this area. The third and last section illustrates some of the ways the
discursive construction of female adolescence and of leisure, within the
context of anxieties regarding societal stability, shaped discussion about
young womens leisure and suggestions regarding their leisure needs during
the late 1930s and the 1940s.
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YOUNG WOMEN AND LEISURE, 193050
235
The Discovery of Modern Leisure
Historians of youth and leisure have tended to overlook the historically
specific construction and significance of the concept of leisure. In doing so,
they fail to address the importance of the particular meanings attached to
leisure for the ways in which the organisation of the social and forms of
social activity are both understood and constituted within different historical
periods. Prior to 1900, the term leisure was rarely used except in relation
to the leisured classes; for the mass of people leisure was illegitimate:
leisure was a word reserved for the ... jobless rich; it was never imputed to
the poor, they were considered indolent if idle.[6] In fact, contemporary
studies more commonly referred to particular activities, sports, recreation
and amusements. Cunningham claims that it was not until the late
nineteenth century that the term leisure began to be employed more widely
to refer to the non-work time of the mass of people.[7] However, it was not
until the twentieth century, and more specifically the inter-war years, that
leisure became established and recognised as a distinct sphere of mass social
life defined in relation to paid work. Whilst social historians may argue that
leisure has been an increasingly important aspect of social life since the mid-
nineteenth century, the significance of the inter-war period lies in the
specificity which was claimed for contemporary leisure as a newly emerged
and significant area of life. Further, this period is notable for the way in
which leisure was discursively constituted as a category of the social to
which a whole set of meanings and significance was ascribed. Leisure was
no longer a class-specific concept, although it retained a class differentiated
form.
During the 1920s and 1930s there emerged a proliferation of
discussion and literature in Britain, the USA and Germany which addressed
the question of leisure in the modern world.[8] Initially produced by male
academics, this debate expanded as youth workers and school and college
teachers contributed to the discussion of the policy and provision
implications of leisure. As this suggests, the leisure debate attracted the
attention of people from diverse backgrounds. Although contributors to this
debate differed on specific points, there was, nevertheless, considerable
agreement on key issues.
A central feature of this debate was an insistence that leisure was a
modern phenomenon which constituted a distinctive sphere of social life.
This was reflected in the titles of contemporary studies on the subject, for
example, the New Education Fellowships The Coming of Leisure (1935)
and Delisle Burnss Leisure in the Modern World (1932). The idea that
leisure was a modern phenomenon was reiterated in the popular press, for
example, Woman magazine in 1930 stated that Life is fun ... more freedom
... more leisure. Hours are shorter, wages are better than ever before.[9]
Writers like L.P. Jacks (principal of Manchester College, Oxford) and
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Penny Tinkler
236
C. Delisle Burns (whose book on leisure was based on a set of talks on
Glasgow and London radio) set out to elevate the status of what they
claimed was a hitherto neglected aspect of contemporary life and attempted
to direct policy-makers to recognise the significance and potential value of
leisure. The idea that leisure was only recently discovered achieved
widespread support in the academic community: so much so that in 1940
James & Moore (psychologists at Manchester University), in their study of
adolescent leisure, could comment that the importance of the role of leisure
in the economy of individuals and of communities has now been generally
recognized, though still insufficiently, for more than a decade.[10]
According to contemporary commentators, the discovery of leisure was
primarily attributable to changes in the organisation of paid work. As
Tawney, the economic historian, explained in 1936, modern leisure was the
outcome of the application of science to the production of wealth. However,
he argued that due to inequalities in the distribution of the resources made
available (leisure), and the increased number of human beings to be
supported, the effect of this development in creating the conditions of
leisure for all did not become immediately apparent.[11] Given the
concentration on leisure as time outside paid work, there was some
discussion regarding the classification of the time of the unemployed.
Similarly, commentators attempted to grapple with the thorny question of
whether the woman in the home had increased access to leisure. Shifting
their attention from the restructuring of paid work, writers like Delisle
Burns and Cutten (lecturer at Colgate University, New York) claimed that
the introduction of labour-saving devices into the modern home had also
precipitated a reorganisation of domestic work. This change, they argued,
liberated many full and part-time housewives and mothers, providing them
with more leisure.[12]
Perceived changes in the organisation of paid and, to a lesser extent,
domestic work are, however, insufficient to explain why leisure was suddenly
discovered in this period. As Cutten pointed out in relation to the American
experience, although leisure appeared to have arrived suddenly, it has been
making its way for a long time but has been only recently recognised.[13]
This point was reiterated in British studies. The discovery of leisure owed
much to the cultural and political significance which became attached to
time outside work. This came from the growing concern about the stability
and direction of British society and democracy, concerns which were fuelled
by instability at home and abroad and in particular the First World War.[14]
Framed within the New Liberal discourses on citizenship, these concerns
were articulated in terms of the individual who was identified as the
cornerstone of the political and socio-economic order and established as
responsible for the well-being of the community and wider society. The
identification of the individual as the crux of societal stability coincided with
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YOUNG WOMEN AND LEISURE, 193050
237
a fear that traditional sources of individual fulfilment, guidance and control
were losing their hold at the same time as people enjoyed more unregulated
time which was subject to increased exploitation and manipulation by the
mass media.[15] It was within this context that the increased availability of
time outside work attained significance and leisure was discovered and,
moreover, established as a problem.
The context within which leisure was discovered clearly shaped the
emerging discourses on leisure, which were framed within a particular set of
social objectives. Links were established between leisure and societal
stability understood in terms of economic efficiency, the security of
democracy, suppression of crime, stability of social relations between the
classes, and the sanctity of the family.[16] However, discussions of leisure
focused on two main issues: the relationship between leisure and labour and
leisure and citizenship. As I shall go on to illustrate, the intersection of the
constructions of the paid worker and citizen as primarily male fundamentally
shaped the way in which leisure was discursively constituted such that the
principal subject in pre-WWII leisure discourse was male.
Although leisure was constructed as a distinctive sphere, leisure and
paid work were seen as interactive in two principal ways. Firstly, as leisure
was seen to assume greater importance in the lives of all social groups, the
ways in which the individual consumed leisure were seen to be increasingly
significant for shaping the work which actually went on within production.
Secondly, and related to this, activities pursued in leisure and the conditions
under which individuals laboured were seen to impact on each other in
terms of their effects on the individual and society generally. Commentators
were concerned that conditions of work, particularly unskilled and semi-
skilled work, did not encourage the individual to pursue constructive leisure
and that prevalent forms of leisure led to degeneration, with implications for
the individuals potential to labour. One particular feature of modern
leisure was singled out for attention, namely, the commercialised mass
media and especially the cinema. Jacks argued that long, arduous and
monotonous hours of work ensured that the worker (whom he principally
addressed as male) would not be able, or willing, to make productive and
constructive use of his leisure time in order to ensure the physical and
mental re-creation necessary for industrial efficiency:
If he leaves off in a state of exhaustion or boredom or nervous
irritation, he will naturally seek his recreation in the form of ready-made
pleasures and external excitement, and be especially susceptible, as
psychologists well know, to that form of entertainment in which the sex
flavour is uppermost.[17]
Despite the fact that roughly 75% of young women were in paid work, they
were marginalised in the leisure/labour debate.[18] The reason for this was
that girls and women were seen as temporary and secondary workers; they
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Penny Tinkler
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were primarily defined as future wives and mothers. Where women did come
into focus, it was in terms of the assumed relationship between their
employment, leisure consumption and sexual misconduct. This is a point I
shall return to.
The relationship between leisure and citizenship was more complex
given the range of meanings attached to citizenship. At one level, citizenship
was defined as political responsibility. In this respect, the individuals use of
leisure was seen as highly important for the ability to make political choices:
How can we expect the citizen to vote wisely while the rest of his life is
all in a muddle his body distracted, unmanaged, and tending to the
C3 condition; dependent for its pleasures on the external excitements
of the cinema, the race course, the night clubs, and the sex novel; his
mind equally dependent on the ready-made opinion of the newspaper or
the street corner or the first canvasser who happens to get him by the
button-hole a poor judge of values and a creator of nothing.[19]
More broadly, citizenship was defined in terms of individual responsibility
and commitment to the community. Embraced within liberal discourses on
citizenship, commentators either implicity or explicitly focused on the
individuals use of leisure as a crucial site within which citizenship could,
and should, be expressed and developed. In fact, many of the speakers in the
leisure debate were affiliated to organisations concerned with this issue,
such as the Association for Education in Citizenship and the National
Education Fellowship.[20] Given that citizenship was predicated on the
assumption that the foundations of society were essentially sound and the
individual dysfunctional or irresponsible, discourses on citizenship did not
challenge, and in fact reinforced, the prevalent social organisation of class
and gender relations, allocating the duties of citizenship along traditional
and gendered lines of responsibility.[21] In relation to leisure, therefore, the
activities of men and women had somewhat different implications. This
differentiation was, however, implicit within the leisure debate, arising as it
did from the preoccupation with the male citizen and paid worker. Although
by 1928 women were granted suffrage on the same terms as men, they were
not centrally addressed as political citizens within the early leisure literature.
Nevertheless, as we shall see, in calls for leisure education and in wartime
initiatives, the link between leisure and citizenship did provide a framework
within which young womens leisure could attain significance.
The effects of contemporary leisure practice and the ways in which
paid work and leisure in particular were perceived to interact were seen to
have implications beyond the individual. Hence, leisure commentators
frequently blamed the degeneration of society on leisure and, more
specifically, on uneducated leisure.[22] Whilst leisure was defined as the
problem, it was at the same time heralded as a valuable resource; Leisure is
the most valuable product of modern mechanisms and modern social
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YOUNG WOMEN AND LEISURE, 193050
239
organisation: but it is generally regarded as a negligible by-product and it is
largely wasted.[23] Leisure was heralded as the panacea of modern society
the fortunes of our civilization will become increasingly dependent on ...
how they [people] spend their leisure.[24]
Whilst leisure was both the bane of modern society and at the same
time the solution to societal problems, it was also constructed as a site of
intervention in two principal ways. Firstly, whereas the conditions of paid
work were seen as fixed and immutable, a sphere where the individual had
no choice, leisure was relationally defined as private and free. This
emphasis highlighted the individuals leisure choices as the focus of
intervention. However, as leisure was defined as freedom of choice,
individuals could not be pressured to change their leisure patterns; rather,
they had to be educated to choose their leisure wisely. Hence, there was a
focus on education and guidance and repeated calls for education for
leisure both within and outside the school system. Secondly, the
significance attached to leisure as a site of intervention was intensified
precisely because other areas of social life were seen as closed and other
potential agencies of social control were seen as inadequate. This was
particularly so regarding paid work. The ramifications of the work/leisure
cycle could be counteracted through leisure. Similarly, while the family was
identified as crucial to the stability and development of individuals, and
attributed considerable responsibility for the present state of society,
intervention in this sphere was perceived to be particularly difficult. In fact,
the education system was presented as one of the central ways in which
changes in the family could be achieved.
In the light of the significance attached to modern leisure as an
increasingly large and important sphere of social life, what people did in
their leisure time assumed greater importance. Recognition of this prompted
numerous studies of leisure from the late 1930s into the 1940s and
discussion of the social repercussions of contemporary leisure practice.
Whilst this was encouraged by the states direct intervention in leisure
provision at the outset of the Second World War, it would be wrong to
attribute attention to youth leisure solely to the War.
The advent of leisure was perceived to have far-reaching implications
for the education of children. As Holroyd explained in 1942, drawing upon
his experience in elementary schools and post-elementary youth work, the
hours of leisure now exceeded those spent in paid work and education
should subsequently prepare and train children in the use of this time in the
interests of the individual and the community; The education of the child ...
must take into account the whole of his [sic] existence as an adult. It must
consider his work, his leisure.[25] Although girls were included in this
work, the focus, as with earlier leisure studies, was on boys and men. At the
same time as the education of children was highlighted for attention, the
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Penny Tinkler
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leisure activities and training of the young male and female worker were
also illuminated as a more immediate but also long-term problem: On all
sides educationalists and social workers say that the urgent questions are
what people do with their spare time, how to guide their activities into the
right channels and particularly how to tackle the juveniles in this
context.[26]
Since the turn of the century the leisure activities of the working-class
young male who had left the guidance of school had been the subject of
much concern. Attention focused primarily on unemployed males because of
their perceived propensity towards crime, concern to prevent deterioration,
and a desire to facilitate their reabsorption into industry. Such
preoccupations underpinned attempts to extend education provision
through the introduction of Continuation Schools in 1918. These
motivations were also important for voluntary and state provision for young
men outside school and/or work, including youth clubs, the Juvenile
Organisations Committee set up in 1916 and the Junior Instruction Centres
established in 1918.[27] Young women were catered for within the voluntary
and state sectors but they remained peripheral to the focus on young men
except with regard to their sexual conduct.[28] Despite interest in how
young people, especially young men, occupied time outside work, this was
not conceptualised in terms of their leisure prior to the 1920s but in terms
of their engagement in specific activities. Further, this did not lead to debate
about youth leisure or concerted state-directed efforts to monitor and guide
adolescent leisure.[29] It was not until the popular discovery of leisure,
which had become widely established by the late 1930s, that youth leisure
was identified as an issue and one which embraced both young women and
men.
At one level, interest in adolescent leisure was similar to concerns
expressed about childrens leisure in that the issue was how to educate
young people to use their current and future leisure in suitable ways. Given
that the majority of adolescent girls and boys were outside the education
system, the question was how such training could be provided. In other
ways, the issue of adolescent leisure was quite distinct from concerns
regarding the leisure of children or adults. It was at this point that
discourses on adolescence and leisure intersected. The way in which
adolescent leisure was approached and the rationality for this focus in
relation to leisure was provided by constructions of adolescence. These were
clearly important for the significance attached to the leisure of young people
and in particular those who had left the guidance of full-time education. To
quote Burns (1932), It has been shown that adolescence involves special
problems in the modern world, because of the rapid social and industrial
changes which may seriously affect the plastic emotions and intelligence of
youth.[30] Such constructions actually constituted adolescent leisure as a
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YOUNG WOMEN AND LEISURE, 193050
241
specific problem and rationalised intervention in both the short- and long-
term interests of the individual and community. However, the characteristics
attributed to female adolescence differed from those attributed to male
adolescence. It is these which are central to understanding the concern and
provision directed at young women during the late 1930s and 1940s.
The Construction of Adolescence
Constructions of adolescence within this period, and even today, owe much
to the work of psychologists, and in particular Stanley Hall, who is credited
with the discovery of adolescence. In fact, the modern concept of
adolescence as an autonomous age group emerged primarily from Hall.[31]
Following the work of Hall, which gained popularity in the USA and Britain
prior to the First World War, there emerged a substantial body of research
on the young person which sought to classify and explain adolescence. By
the 1920s adolescence as a specific psychological and biological stage in the
development of the child to adult had become well established in
psychology. While the term adolescence was not popular outside this field,
the gender- and class-specific constructions of adolescence generated by
psychology clearly shaped the policy, practice and rationalisations of
individuals and bodies concerned with young men and women throughout
the inter-war and war years.[32] Further, they crystallised concerns and
anxieties about the behaviour and development of young people.
Although the significance of an immutable biological foundation was
firmly established within these discourses, the extent to which adolescent
experience could be attributed to social factors was a contentious issue.
Diverging from Hall, the prevalent view during the inter-war period and also
the 1940s was that many of the characteristics of modern adolescence were
due to environmental factors; these included the transition from school to
work, the decline of traditional constraints on behaviour, in particular, moral
and social constraints governing relations between the sexes and, linked to
this, the delay between attainment of sexual maturity and the age at which
young people could marry and have legitimate sexual activity.[33] The
tension within these constructions between the biological and social is
important in that while the period of adolescent transition was biologically
driven, it was nevertheless possible to exacerbate or smooth this process
through the young persons social environment. By 1940 leisure had been
identified as a particularly influential area in relation to adolescent
development.
A further notable characteristic attributed to adolescence was its
significance as a critical transitional stage in maturation. This arose in part
from the extent of change and adjustment which was said to occur during
this period of development when the child underwent physical/physiological
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Penny Tinkler
242
maturity, experienced a ripening of the sex instinct and release of sex
energies. These biological forces in conjunction with environmental factors
contributed to a change in the emotions, mental outlook and interests of the
individual. The critical nature of adolescence also emerged from the
significance attributed to this developmental stage for the shape of the
emerging adult; adolescence could either result in a well-adjusted or
maladjusted adult. As the education psychologist, Olive Wheeler, explained,
adolescent development was marked by four major adjustments the
finding of a vocation, the finding of a mate, the development of new social
emotions preparing the individual to assume the responsibilities of
citizenship, and the discovery of a working philosophy of life.[34]
The most striking feature of the construction of adolescence was the
centrality attributed to puberty. The onset of puberty was established as the
key to adolescence and the attainment of sexual maturity was the central
event ascribed to this stage. However, the onset of puberty was seen to have
very different characteristics and implications for boys and girls. What is
particularly noticeable is the concern which female physiological and sexual
development generated compared with the attention to these aspects of male
adolescent development. In fact most studies concerned with girls were
preoccupied with these issues, although by 1940 these were attributed less
significance than was typical of earlier psychological work.[35] Nevertheless,
it is these differences which explain the particular approach and concerns
regarding young womens leisure. Two particular characteristics of these
constructions of female adolescence are worthy of attention.[36]
Firstly, according to psychologists, adolescence was a period
characterised by instability resulting from an excess of energies, in particular
sex energies. Whilst this was also a characteristic of boys, the implications
and significance of sex energies were clearly gendered. In contrast to the
way in which the budding male sexuality was described, psychologists were
careful not to suggest that females had an active, aggressive sexuality. In
fact, female sexuality was linked to a maternal instinct.[37] Psychologists
claimed that the emergence of female sex energies led to emotional
instability and a craving for affection which, in the absence of guidance,
emotional warmth and appropriate outlets, could lead to sexual activity. The
important point is that sexual activity was not typically attributed to a sexual
urge, although it was perceived as a product of sex energies. Working-class
girls were presented as particularly at risk for two reasons. Firstly, it was
believed that their sexual energies were awakened at an early age due to
environmental factors. Secondly, and in contrast to her middle-class sister,
the working-class girl was believed to lack adequate guidance arising from
poor family support and her early expulsion from education into paid
work.[38] Surprisingly, given the assumption of heterosexuality, while male
sexuality was presented as aggressive, concerns about adolescent sexuality
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and sexual activity focused almost exclusively on girls. In fact studies of
delinquency clearly presented female, and not male, sexuality as a problem;
as Burt explained, more girls than boys have sex problems.[39] Further, sex
delinquency was treated as a problem exclusive to girls and as the primary
form of female delinquency.
Related to the equation of female sexuality with a maternal impulse, a
second characterisic of female adolescence was described as adjustment to
the demands of motherhood. Although not commonly mentioned until the
1940s, adjustment to heterosexuality was assumed as a prerequisite for
motherhood and implicitly significant in its own right. Where Freudian
frameworks were used, the adolescent adjustment to heterosexuality was
quite explicit, although couched in terms of facilitating the fulfilment of
womans maternal impulse.[40] More commonly, adjustment to the relations
of heterosexuality constituted the hidden agenda. For example, Saywells
description of the requirements of adolescent adjustment to maternity
clearly reveals that it is being used as a rationalisation for a particular form
of heterosexual relations: Surrender may appear to her to involve the
merging of her personality in that of her mate, and the loss of an essential
freedom.[41] Similarly, Lindsey claimed that a woman needed a
monogamous heterosexual relationship arising from her maternal impulse
and need to protect the interests of herself and her children.[42]
Discourses on adolescence identified young people as a particularly
vulnerable social group at the same time as they mapped out the
characteristics and trajectory of the individuals development along gender
lines; in the case of the girl, development towards the roles of wife and
mother. In the light of the significance attached to adolescence as a critical
stage in the maturation process, and its importance for a girls heterosexual
development and preparation for the adult roles of wife and mother, the
ways in which young women occupied their increased leisure time was seen
to be particularly influential; that is, the adult woman was seen to be shaped
by the leisure she pursued in her youth. Further, the lack of guidance which
was perceived to characterise leisure time was attributed with responsibility
for the socially disruptive behaviour of young women. This was consolidated
by studies which revealed that most delinquency occurred during the hours
of leisure.[43] The significance attached to leisure for the conditions and
stability of the individual, and more broadly the community, meant that
peoples leisure, and in particular the leisure of the adolescent, was
important both for the present and long-term stability of society. The social
problems associated with the young woman, including sex-related
delinquency, and the broader issues of womens position within the relations
of heterosexuality and the family were thus constituted as if they could and
should be tackled or exacerbated through leisure. Whilst these constructions
of female adolescence highlighted the importance of leisure for a young
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womans heterosexual behaviour, they also stressed the significance of
leisure for the adolescents developing sense of citizenship.
The Issue of Young Womens Leisure
The Second World War was important for the speed with which the issue of
adolescent leisure was taken up in social studies and also at the level of
state policy. Two principal concerns acted as the catalyst. Firstly, there was
concern about the dislocation created by the War and the removal of normal
agencies of social control over the young person. As Olive Wheeler
explained, war conditions the black-out, bombing, evacuation, the early
entrance of boys and girls into industry and economic independence, and
the absence of fathers in active service and of mothers on war work,
increased the risks of disaster to the youth of this country.[44] The
fragmentation of the family, and most particularly the absence of the mother
from the home, was repeatedly emphasised. This was seen as particularly
pertinent to the girl, for whom the family was seen as a fundamental source
of influence.[45] The War was perceived to introduce massive and traumatic
interruptions into the lives of young people both at school (as indicated by
evacuation surveys) and at work and to encourage the deterioration of the
moral fibre of youth. These conditions were seen to prevent the necessary
development of girls and boys towards responsible adulthood. In relation to
girls more specifically, there was also concern that these changes, in
conjunction with increased exposure to unregulated leisure, encouraged
sexual delinquency. As the Mass Observation report on young Londoners
noted in 1941,For the young woman there is a world of new employment,
new danger, complete lack of security outlets, and an accumulated decay of
the restraints on normal conduct.[46] Second, and related, the War
consolidated and intensified pre-existing anxieties regarding the stability of
British society both in the short and long term and prompted a renewed
focus on the individual as citizen: the maintenance of democracy cannot be
left to the statesman and the expert. It is the individual responsibility of
every citizen ... Active citizenship is the indispensable condition of freedom
in a planned society.[47] This preoccupation with citizenship was a key
feature of the Board of Educations intervention in the area of youth leisure
provision. It also characterised initiatives in the education branches of the
Armed Services where in 1942 classes in citizenship were introduced for
men and women. However, this ideal of citizenship, within which the debates
on leisure and youth were situated, meant different things for men and
women.[48]
In the remainder of this article I want to look more closely at studies
and critiques of young womens leisure and also at recommendations
concerning the leisure needs of young women growing up in the late 1930s
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and 1940s. Through these we can see how the particular constructions of
female adolescence, within the context of fears regarding societal stability,
attributed significance to young womens leisure.
Studies of youth leisure during the 1930s and 1940s revealed the
extent to which working-class girls, particularly those who had left school,
shared similar patterns of leisure focused on a narrow range of activities,
and in particular the cinema, dance halls and romance magazines.[49]
Jephcotts studies Girls Growing Up (1942) and Rising Twenty (1948) both
point to the importance of the cinema in the leisure of school and working
girls.[50] These and other studies also revealed that for most working girls
romance magazines constituted an important aspect of their leisure and the
major, if not sole, source of reading matter: In many cases the American
habit of reading magazines to the exclusion of any books has so taken hold
of a girl that at 19 she reads practically nothing except an occasional book
of the film, Woman and Picturegoer.[51] Contemporary studies also
pointed to the tendency for young women to wander the streets in their
leisure time [52] and, with the advent of war, research indicated that an
increasing number of young women frequented public houses.[53]
Commentators as diverse as Durant, the Marxist founder of the Gallup
Poll in England, and Pearl Jephcott, a leading figure in the girls club
movement, expressed concern at these patterns, particularly in relation to
the young woman removed from the guidance of the school. What spurred
this shared concern was their belief that leisure was an important sphere of
social life, and that adolescence and leisure were key social spaces in which
social conscience and citizenship could, and should, be fostered. Referring to
young womens interest in romance magazines, Jephcott argued that If she
were reading other matter as well, they would be relatively unimportant, but
since generally she is not doing so, they are immensely important.[54]
Observers were anxious that the conditions of employment in which most ex-
elementary school pupils were engaged were characterised by routinisation
and mechanisation, which led to physical and mental degeneration. As noted
earlier, these conditions were believed to encourage girls to pursue
commercialised forms of entertainment outside working hours; these, in
turn, compounded rather than counterbalanced or compensated for the
conditions of paid work. According to Durant, the conditions of factory work
in which many working-class girls were employed led to stupefication and
inefficiency but also a desire for escapism, hence the emphasized erotic
attitude of the factory girls, their display of finery, their love of dancing and
cinemas, their loud shrieks of laughter in the streets.[55] Framed in relation
to clear social objectives, commentators drew upon psychological
constructions of adolescence to rationalise their concern regarding young
womens leisure, and in particular the effects of the mass media. The ways in
which this aspect of youth leisure was approached clearly owe much to the
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notions of adolescence as a critical stage in life development, and a
vulnerable and unstable period. Leisure activities centred on the cinema and
dance hall were described by Jephcott as unsuited to the needs of a
developing personality:
the simple fact [is] that the girl has only a limited amount of time in
which to learn to become a fully developed adult, and that a routine of
several nights every week at the pictures eats into this time with a
regularity and persistence that is the more alarming as one watches it
taking place from childhood till the girl has become adult in body, even
if she is still immature in mind and emotions.[56]
Criticisms of the medias effect on the adolescent, in particular the young
woman, were twofold. Firstly, there was concern that cinema and romance
magazines encouraged unreal expectations of life and unsuitable values, to
which the young worker was particularly susceptible, lacking either maturity
or guidance. Referring to romance magazines, Jephcott described how [t]he
air is heavy with the dream-world longings of young people who come from
homes where money is hard to come by. Such tales strengthen girls
convictions that they would be bound to have a good time and be happy if
only they could be rich.[57] Materialism, competition and selfish
individualism, which were described as the values promoted by films,
conflicted with the values and characteristics required of citizens in a
democracy, and as such they were seen as not only individually damaging to
the vulnerable adolescent but of wider significance in undermining British
life. Rather than competition and individualism, liberal reformers wanted the
promotion of cooperation.[58]
Related to the issue of values, the second and strongest set of
criticisms levelled at the media was that it encouraged an unhealthy
preoccupation with the opposite sex and aroused and frustrated adolescent
sex interest: Cinema, glossy magazines, advertisements, novellettes, all
exploit, often in its crudest form, this powerful drive and excite the appetites
of the young.[59] The idea that the cinema encouraged imitation and
aroused emotions was seen as a problem for both boys and girls. However,
with regard to relations between the sexes and, more specifically, sexual
relations, it was the girl that was seen to be most at risk. Referring
specifically to the cinema, Durant argued that:
sometimes the effect of the amusements industry is actively to promote
mischief or delinquency ... Mainly through the medium of the films
factory girls are also brought into contact with other modes of living
and discover their appeal. They witness the rise of girls who achieve
comfort by being betrothed to their employers or almost
bethrothed.[60]
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Such concerns had a particular resonance and significance in relation to
girls future roles as wives and mothers. Media critics suggested that media
stimulation led to lax moral standards. Such claims were usually set in the
context of concerns about high levels of female promiscuity and, during
the war years, the increase in illegitimate births amongst young women.[61]
Arguments for the medias responsibility in encouraging sexual
immorality were clearly based on the understanding of adolescence as
characterised by an upsurge in sexual energies which, without appropriate
outlets, would manifest themselves in criminal or sexual activity. The
tendency towards sexual promiscuity which critics pointed to was seen as
threatening the moral standards of the next generation of adults who, born
out of wedlock and the nuclear family, would not be correctly socialised to
accept, maintain and reproduce the status quo and prevalent sexual and
moral standards. As the Board of Education stressed in 1943:
Children are born into families, and the influences on any one child of
the other members of its family are the earliest and strongest of all. It is,
therefore, essential that everything possible should be done to secure
and safeguard the importance of the family as the first and most natural
community to which every child belongs.[62]
Linked to this, critics were anxious that the early preoccupation of girls with
boys, sex and romance did not provide a suitable context for girls to develop
appropriate relationships with the opposite sex, ones which could serve as
the foundations for companionate and stable marriage relations.[63] As we
have seen, female adolescence was identified as central to the development
of a particular form of heterosexuality and heterosexual relations. The War
was seen to disrupt this development, encouraging an active and
promiscuous form of female heterosexuality which was deemed inconsistent
with monogamous marriage and stable family life.
The discursive construction of adolescent leisure also framed
recommendations for the leisure provision of young people throughout the
1930s and 1940s. Despite a network of voluntary associations and repeated
calls for leisure provision and education for leisure during the 1930s, it was
not until the Second World War that resources were mobilised on a large
scale to tackle this issue. By the Second World War, the Government had
become receptive to the importance of leisure and its responsibility for
meeting leisure needs; in particular, it singled out the leisure of young
people aged 14-20 years for special attention.[64] In the 1939 Service of
Youth circular, the Board of Education clearly stated a new, positive and
concerted policy of responsibility for youth: They [the Government] have
accordingly decided that the Board of Education shall undertake a direct
responsibility for youth welfare.[65] The means through which this was to
be achieved were youth clubs and organisations. This circular encouraged
local education authorities to set up Youth Committees and to promote the
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welfare of youth. Reinforcing this approach, in 1940 the Board urged local
education authorities to encourage existing youth organisations and to
augment these where necessary.[66] Later in the year the Board issued
another circular entitled Youth, Physical Recreation and Service, which
advocated the formation of Youth Service Corps under the supervision of
the local Youth Committee.[67] In 1942 the National Youth Council was
dissolved and replaced by the Youth Advisory Council, which represented an
amalgamation of officials from all types of youth work. Adolescent leisure
was now an organised and respected area of public concern and state policy.
To some extent, state intervention in youth leisure can be seen as a
short-term measure to alleviate the potential of young people towards acts of
delinquency by encouraging them to make better use of their leisure an
assumption predicated on psychological constructions of adolescence. At the
same time, the scheme aimed to prepare young people, especially young
men, for active service. Such provision was, however, also couched in terms
of the requirements of adolescent development and the long-term objective
of shaping future citizens of a democracy. This is explicit in the Board of
Educations circular, The Challenge of Youth (1940), in which the universal
objective of youth policy was described to be the building of character: this
implies developing the whole personality of individual boys and girls to
enable them to take their place as full members of a free community.[68]
The Service of Youth scheme atttracted considerable attention from
psychologists, educationalists and those involved in voluntary sector youth
club provision. Whilst it generated both praise and criticism, it also
prompted renewed discussion about leisure provision and accentuated calls
for education for leisure through the extension of school provision and
youth clubs.[69] This emphasis on education needs to be seen in terms of
the openings for intervention in leisure. In the absence of means of
controlling commercial leisure provision, interest focused on moulding and
guiding the individuals leisure choices; that is, educating the young person
to use her/his leisure constructively in relaxation, recreation and personal
and community development. A further reason for this emphasis arose from
the concern of commentators of sounding dictatorial because compulsion
and control of leisure were associated with fascism and Hitlers German
Youth movement. Compulsion was regarded as highly inappropriate in the
training of an individual for citizenship within a democracy, the cornerstone
of which should be the value and freedom of the individual.[70] In spite of
these concerns, and attempts to express leisure needs and services in terms
which drew attention away from control and organisation, reformers
nevertheless had a clear idea of what constituted an ideal man and woman
and an equally clear notion of what sorts of leisure activities fostered
development towards these ideals. Although there was a consensus that the
school-leaving age should be raised and education for leisure embraced
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within the schools role, reformers were at the same time unanimous in
promoting youth clubs as an ideal medium for adolescent development and
training in the use of leisure. Discussion focused on three particular ways in
which youth clubs could be beneficial. Whilst these benefits were frequently
presented in gender-neutral terms, there are clear indicators that their
significance was somewhat different in degree and form for girls and boys.
Firstly, youth clubs were promoted as a comfortable environment for
the young woman to seek respite from the world. The importance of this
stemmed from the idea that adolescence was a very specific and also
traumatic stage which required sensitive handling and particular conditions
in order to smooth the emotional, physical and mental discomforts
associated with this period. Neither the world of the child nor that of the
adult was seen as suitable for the adolescent. Agnes Mialls description of
the Girls Training Corps (GTC) for Girls Own Paper readers in 1943 sums
this up well. Miall described the GTC as a place where girls could feel
comfortable:
the trouble is that in the mid teens, you are, as the old saying goes,
neither fish, flesh, fowl nor good red herring! ... A wage-earner most
decidedly isnt a child anymore and ought not to be treated as such. But
she isnt quite grown up, either, and she doesnt feel thoroughly at
home yet in the grown up world where she works. Youll know what I
mean how often you feel unsure of yourself, afraid of making
mistakes, awkward, shy, keyed-up.[71]
A similar point emerges in the Ministry of Educations School and Life
report of 1947, in which concern is expressed for the young person making
the transition from school to employment: In a mass society the individual
tends to get swamped, as one unit in a shifting crowd, and the chances are
against the formation of stable social groups in which the young can
discover themselves.[72] However, the kind of environment which girls and
boys required was generally seen to be different. This is most apparent in
discussions about the value of mixed-sex clubs.[73] As we shall see, in the
voluntary sector, where single-sex clubs were the norm prior to the War,
leaders of girls clubs were generally in favour of introducing boys on the
grounds that they would assist in attracting and retaining female members
and because mixed-sex membership provided a means of supervising young
womens heterosexual relationships.[74] Many leaders also considered it
appropriate that children be incorporated within clubs for young women in
order to afford older girls the opportunity to practise mothercraft.[75] In
contrast, those involved in boys clubs argued that adolescent boys needed
gender- and age-specific space in order to foster male virility and protect
boys from the sexual interest of their female peers, who matured earlier.
Writing in 1943, A.E. Morgan (Principal of University College Hull, 1926-35
and then Principal of McGill University in Montreal), who was commissioned
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by the King Georges Jubilee Trust to undertake a survey of the adolescent
citizens of the British Isles, claimed that boys and girls had very different
relationships with their clubs:
In effect the boys club ... is a world different in kind from home life;
while the girl finds in her club something different rather in degree
from home activities ... This is an important factor in this question of
mixed activities. Boys and girls clubs being so different in their relation
to the lives of their members, the presence of boys is a natural accession
to a girls club, whereas when girls come into a boys club they
necessitate a radical change of activity involving both physical and
psychological rearrangements.[76]
Nevertheless, the majority of clubs set up by local education authorities
under the Service of Youth scheme were mixed sex. The Board (later, the
Ministry) of Education and many youth workers and social commentators
favoured some mixing of the sexes, although at the same time they
advocated varying degrees of separation in terms of space and activities in
order to cater for gender-specific interests and to allow for the slower sexual
development of boys.[77]
A second way in which youth clubs were seen to be valuable was
through the opportunity they afforded for the development of citizenship. In
1935 Madeline Rooff argued that opportunity for a wise use of leisure
should be available for all young people, particularly at the crucial period of
adolescence when standards of judgement were being formed which would
affect the whole of adult life. Girls clubs, she argued, should aim to train
young members to take responsibility and to cultivate that independence of
spirit which will fit them to take their place as citizens of the
community.[78] The organisation of youth clubs was seen to offer a unique
opportunity for young people to develop social skills and responsibility.
Through the practical experience of being part of a small democratic
community, adolescents could learn at first hand the qualities and skills
essential to the liberal view of citizenship:
No talks on citizenship, nor visits to the Houses of Parliament, will
convince them of the real value of democracy as effectively as their own
membership of a live and responsible committee of their
contemporaries, which deals with affairs that have immediate effect
upon their own lives.[79]
Furthermore, social mixing through clubs was perceived to break down
ignorance and foster the growth of liberal values which would promote
equality and eradicate the divisive ills of society such as poverty and
discrimination; through this clubs could promote gender and class harmony
which would stabilise democracy in Britain, and promote international
understanding and peace.[80] In much of the discussion of clubs and
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citizenship it is difficult to discern any overt gender differentiation due to
the concentration on rather vague societal objectives. However, both single-
and mixed-sex clubs retained a high degree of gender differentiation;
proponents of clubs emphasised the importance of eradicating inequality but
not difference between girls and boys. By implication, the lessons girls
received concerning their role and responsibilities in a community were
therefore somewhat different to those which boys received.
Thirdly, and most emphatically, youth clubs were heralded as an ideal
space within which to shape and regulate relations between the sexes. Given
the way in which female adolescence was constructed such that sexual
delinquency and responsibility for sexual relations were identified as female
issues, the problem of regulating male/female relationships was primarily
seen as one of supervising young women; boys were not specifically
identified as needing guidance in this area. Further, as we have seen, in the
area of sexuality it was the working-class young woman who was presented
as most volatile and potentially sexually promiscuous. In 1935 Madeline
Rooff revealed that the majority of existing youth clubs in England and
Wales were single-sex affairs.[81] However, Rooff also noted that many
youth workers were well aware that the girls only nature of clubs was often
a major deterrent to the enlistment of working girls and largely responsible
for the decline in club attendance once a girl left school. Youth leaders were
most concerned that the single-sex policy alienated the less disciplined or
rough type of girl who was seen to be in most need of leisure guidance
The girls most needing help cannot be induced to join [82]; implicit in this
is the suggestion that rough girls had a tendency towards sexual
promiscuity which the youth club could curb. The sexual activities of boys
were, in contrast, rarely acknowledged or labelled as a problem. Accepting
that interest in the opposite sex was natural and unavoidable, youth
workers increasingly argued that it was only through mixed-sex activities
that the young womans leisure and, more specifically, their relations with
the opposite sex, could be regulated. Reformers were aware that they could
not impose regimes on adolescent leisure but that they had to recognise and
cater for young womens interest in the opposite sex.
An upsurge of concern regarding female promiscuity and anxiety about
the youth of prostitutes and unmarried mothers during the Second World
War fuelled interest in youth clubs for girls and added weight to the
campaign for mixed-sex clubs and activities.[83] Indeed, mixed activities
were regarded as the only way to attract those girls who were most at risk of
becoming sexually delinquent. Further, by bringing boys and girls together
proponents of youth clubs hoped that it would be possible to regulate
relations between the sexes and to curb sexual activity by providing healthy
outlets for youthful energy. This objective is quite evident in this rhetorical
question from the 1947 School and Life report: Is it better that they should
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meet in the atmosphere of a mixed club or meet at the street-corner or the
dance-hall?[84] Linked to this, mixed-sex clubs were seen to enable young
people to develop healthy and balanced relationships based on
companionship and not merely sex interest, and to provide girls with the
opportunity to learn the meaning of true comradeship in creative leisure
activities rather than casual acquaintances.[85] This ideal of adolescent
relationships was remarkably similar to prevalent discourses on
companionate marriage. In this respect, youth clubs can be seen as
preparing young people for companionate marriage. This arrangement, as
Finch & Summerfield have pointed out, whilst supposedly based on
teamwork, did not necessarily challenge, and may even have accentuated,
the sexual division of labour within marriage and family life.[86] Youth clubs
were clearly promoted as a means of guiding the relationships of young
people from middle- and working-class backgrounds but they were seen as
particularly important for the working-class young woman. As such, youth
clubs were about controlling the sexuality of young, and in particular
working-class, women, fostering a particular form of heterosexual
development which would find fulfilment in monogamous companionate
marriage and family life.
Conclusion
Young women were peripheral to discussions of leisure during the inter-war
period, but during the late 1930s and the 1940s their leisure became the
subject of public and state concern. It would be misleading to attribute this
attention solely to the disruptions of the Second World War and anxieties
regarding young womens possible sexual association with soldiers. As I
have argued, girls leisure became a cause for concern prior to the outbreak
of hostilities. The way in which it became an issue and focus of intervention
needs to be understood in terms of the intersection of pre-war constructions
of leisure and adolescence as potentially unstable social spaces. Fears
concerning political and socio-economic instability during and immediately
after the Second World War highlighted the importance of citizenship and
brought the issue of youth leisure to a head. The prominence which youth
leisure attained during the War can be understood in a number of ways.
Firstly, leisure was widely perceived as a site in which citizenship, hence
future societal stability, could be developed and secured. Secondly, the
significance attached to adolescence for the formation of the adult
emphasised the value of leisure activities which fostered citizenship. Related
to this, leisure was identified as a key area within which potential adolescent
turbulence could be either curbed or encouraged. The emphasis within
constructions of female adolescence on an unruly (hetero)sexuality
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highlighted young womens sexual behaviour as a primary cause for
concern.
Despite the attention which young womens leisure attracted during
this period evidence suggests that the activities of young women outside
school and paid work were relatively unchanged.[87] Leisure initiatives were
circumscribed by poor facilities and a lack of trained leaders. More
importantly, attempts to organise and regulate leisure met with resistance
from girls. Such initiatives were also incompatible with the demands of girls
paid work and, importantly, their unpaid domestic obligations.[88] This
evidence reminds us of the complex interface between, on the one hand, the
intentions and efforts of experts, academics, practitioners and policy-makers
and, on the other, their female subjects. Nevertheless, with the proliferation
of academic and policy-related leisure studies and the introduction of the
youth service, female adolescence and, more specifically, young womens
leisure, did become more clearly demarcated social spaces subject to
increased scrutiny and interventions.
Acknowledgement
I would like to acknowledge the financial support of the British Academy
1990-1993, which facilitated much of the research on which this article is
based.
Notes
[1] Pearl Jephcott (1948) Rising Twenty, p. 110 (London: Faber).
[2] Claire Langhamer (2000) Womens Leisure in England 1920-1960
(Manchester: Manchester University Press); Andrew Davies (1992) Leisure,
Gender and Poverty. Working-class Culture in Salford and Manchester,
1900-39 (Milton Keynes: Open University Press); Claire Langhamer (1995)
Womens Leisure in the Life Cycle: an oral history study of Manchester
women, 1920-1960, Womens History Notebooks, 2(2), pp. 3-14; Liz Oliver
(1995) From the Ballroom to Hell: a social history of public dancing in
Bolton from c. 1840-1911, Womens History Notebooks, 2(2), pp. 15-23;
Shani DCruze (2000) Dainty Little Fairies: women, gender and the Savoy
Operas, Womens History Review, 9, pp. 345-367; Tammy M. Proctor (1998)
(Uni)Forming Youth: Girl Guides and Boy Scouts in Britain, 1908-39,
History Workshop, 45, pp. 103-134. Not all recent studies rely on oral
history, for example: Catherine Horwood (2000) Girls Who Arouse
Dangerous Passions: women and bathing, 1900-1939, Womens History
Review, 9, pp. 653-673; Jill Matthews (1990) They Had Such a Lot of Fun:
the Womens League of Health and Beauty, History Workshop, 30,
pp. 22-54. See also, Liz Stanley (1988) Historical Sources for Studying Work
and Leisure in Womens Lives, in Erica Wimbush & Margaret Talbot (Eds)
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Relative Freedoms: women and leisure (Milton Keynes: Open University
Press).
[3] For example, Deborah Gorham (1982) The Victorian Girl and the Feminine
Ideal (London: Croom Helm); Cynthia White (1970) Womens Magazines
1693-1968 (London: Michael Joseph); Kirsten Drotner (1988) English
Children and Their Magazines 1751-1945 (New Haven: Yale University
Press); Penny Tinkler (1995) Constructing Girlhood: popular magazines for
girls growing up in England, 1920-1950 (London: Taylor & Francis). For a
fuller bibliography, see Penny Tinkler (1995) Women and Popular
Literature, in June Purvis (Ed.) Womens History: Britain, 1850-1945
(London: UCL).
[4] See the following by Penny Tinkler: (1994) An All-round Education: the
Board of educations policy for the leisure-time training of girls, 1939-50,
History of Education, 23, pp. 385-403; (1995) Sexuality and Citizenship: the
state and girls leisure provision in England, 1939-45, Womens History
Review, 4, pp. 193-217; (1997) At Your Service: the nations girlhood and
the call to service in England, 1939-1950, European Journal of Womens
Studies, 4, pp. 353-377; (2001) English Girls and the International
Dimensions of British Citizenship in the 1940s, European Journal of
Womens Studies, 8, pp. 103-126.
[5] John Clarke & Chas Critcher (1985) The Devil Makes Work: leisure in
capitalist Britain (Basingstoke: Macmillan).
[6] George Barton Cutten (1926) The Threat of Leisure, p. 16 (New Haven: Yale
University Press).
[7] Hugh Cunningham (1980) Leisure in the Industrial Revolution c.
1780-1880, pp. 12-13 (London: Croom Helm).
[8] Cutten, The Threat of Leisure; C. Delisle Burns (1932) Leisure in the
Modern World (London: Allen & Unwin); Lawrence Pearsall Jacks (1932)
Education through Recreation (London: University of London Press); Henry
William Durant (1938) The Problem of Leisure (London: G. Routledge &
Sons); National Conference on the Leisure of the People. Leisure of the
People, a handbook, being the report of the ... conference held at
Manchester, 17-20 November 1919, Manchester, England.
[9] Woman, 26 June 1930, pp. 10-11.
[10] H.E.O. James & F.T. Moore (1940) Adolescent Leisure in a Working-class
District, Occupational Psychology, XIV, p. 132.
[11] Richard Henry Tawney (1936) Introduction, in William Boyd (Ed.) The
Challenge of Leisure. Edited on behalf of New Education Fellowship, pp.
ix-x (London: New Education Fellowship).
[12] Burns, Leisure in the Modern World, ch. 3; Cutten, The Threat of Leisure,
pp. 26-27.
[13] Cutten, The Threat of Leisure, p. 17.
[14] The theme of domestic and international instability underpins the New
Education Fellowship (NEF) which was founded in 1915 with the objective
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of promoting world peace; see Boyd, The Challenge of Leisure. The
Association for Education in Citizenship (AEC) was founded with similar
goals; see The Association for Education in Citizenship (1935) Education
for Citizenship in Secondary Schools (Oxford: Oxford University Press),
especially the foreword.
[15] Durant, The Problem of Leisure, ch. 1; also Cutten, The Threat of Leisure,
pp. 70-83.
[16] Crime: Cutten, The Threat of Leisure, p. 96. Democracy: Jacks, Education
through Recreation, ch. VI. Family: Marie Butts, Family Life, in Boyd, The
Challenge of Leisure, pp. 65-70. Class Harmony: Burns, Leisure in the
Modern World, pp. 172-173. Male/female relations: Madeline Rooff (1936)
Girls Clubs, in Boyd, The Challenge of Leisure, p. 172.
[17] Jacks, Education through Recreation, p. 18; see also p. 24.
[18] Tinkler, Constructing Girlhood, p. 27.
[19] Jacks, Education through Recreation, pp. 79-80.
[20] Burns was a member of the AEC; the NEF, which produced The Challenge
of Leisure, was greatly concerned with education for citizenship.
[21] An interesting, but gender-blind discussion, is offered in Harry Hendrick
(1980) A Race of Intelligent Unskilled Labourers: the adolescent worker and
the debate on compulsory part-time continuation schools, 1900-1922,
History of Education, 9, pp. 159-173. See also the Association for Education
in Citizenship, Education for Citizenship, especially ch.1 and appendix 1.
[22] See, for example, Jacks, Education through Recreation; Burns, Leisure in
the Modern World.
[23] Burns, Leisure in the Modern World, p. 13.
[24] Jacks, Education through Recreation, p. 69.
[25] George H.Holroyd (1942) Education for Leisure with special reference to
the senior school, p. 9; see also section I (Leeds: E.J.Arnold & Sons).
[26] Durant, The Problem of Leisure, p. 2.
[27] John Graves (1943) Policy and Progress in Secondary Education,
1902-1942 (London: Thomas Nelson), ch.XXIV.
[28] Carol Dyhouse (1981) Girls Growing Up in Late Victorian and Edwardian
England, pp. 104-114 (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul).
[29] Graves, Policy and Progress, ch. XXIV.
[30] Burns, Leisure in the Modern World, p. 194.
[31] John Springhall (1986) Coming of Age: adolescence in Britain 1860-1960
(London: Gill & Macmillan); Christine Griffin (1993) Representations of
Youth: the study of youth and adolescence in Britain and America
(Cambridge: Polity Press).
[32] Griffin, Representations of Youth, ch. 1; Dyhouse, Girls Growing Up, ch. 4.
For studies of male adolescence, see John Davis (1990) Youth and the
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Condition of Britain: images of adolescent conflict, ch. 3, 4 (London:
Athlone Press); Hendrick, A Race of Intelligent Unskilled Labourers.
[33] Cyril Burt (1944 4th edn, 1st edn 1925) The Young Delinquent, pp. 15,
62-63 (London: University of London Press); W.D. Wall (1948) The
Adolescent Child, p. 113 (London: Methuen); George William Jordan & Elsie
Maude Fisher (1955) Self-portrait of Youth or, the urban adolescent, p. 107
(London: William Heinemann); Phyllis Blanchard (1929) Sex in the
Adolescent Girl, in V.F. Claverton & D.S. Schalhausen (Eds) Sex in
Civilisation, pp. 539-540 (London: Allen & Unwin); H. Lyn & Eleanor Harris
(1947) Coeducational Boarding Schools, in Edward Fyfe Griffith (Ed.) The
Road to Maturity, p. 59 (London: Methuen); Griffith (1947) Towards
Maturity, in Griffith, The Road to Maturity, p. 203; Benjamin Barr Lindsey
& Wainwright Evans (1928) The Revolt of Modern Youth, p. 54 (London:
Brentanos).
[34] Olive A. Wheeler (1943) The Service of Youth, Journal of Educational
Psychology, XIII, p. 70.
[35] For example, Blanchard, Sex in the Adolescent Girl, p. 539. See also the
discussion of literature in Dyhouse (1981) Girls Growing Up, ch. 4. For
examples of literature from the 1940s, see Olive A. Wheeler (1945) The
Adventure of Youth (London: University of London Press) and Wall,
Adolescent Child.
[36] For a discussion of other aspects of differentiation, see Dyhouse, Girls
Growing Up, ch. 4.
[37] Evelyn Saywell (1928, 1st edn 1922) The Growing Girl. Her Development
and Training, ch. 11 (London: Methuen); Phyllis Blanchard (1921) The
Care of the Adolescent Girl, p. 19 (London: Kegan Paul); Blanchard, Sex in
the Adolescent Girl, p. 557; Lindsey & Evans, The Revolt of Modern Youth,
pp. 84-88; Griffith, The Road to Maturity, pp. 27, 29, 196-197, 203-204. This
idea was reiterated in popular social studies, for example, David Mace (1948)
Marriage Crisis, p. 44 (London: Delisle).
[38] Wall, Adolescent Child, pp. 23, 48; Blanchard, The Care of the Adolescent
Girl, p. 48; Lindsay, The Revolt of Modern Youth, p. 148, in which early
sexual maturity is attributed to malnutrition.
[39] Burt, The Young Delinquent, pp. 15 Table 1, 242-243; Charles Wilfred
Valentine (1943) Adolescence and Some Problems of Youth Training,
British Journal of Educational Psychology, XIII, p. 63; Lindsey & Evans,
The Revolt of Modern Youth, p. 119. It was quite common in texts which
referred to both boys and girls in relation to sex delinquency to only give
examples of girls; see, for example, Wheeler, The Adventure of Youth, ch. 7;
Winifred Richmond (1925) The Adolescent Girl, ch. 6 (New York:
Macmillan). Richmond (1925, p. 113) points out that pre-marital male sexual
practice was not labelled as delinquent.
[40] Richmond, The Adolescent Girl, p. 158; Blanchard, Sex in the Adolescent
Girl.
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[41] Saywell, The Growing Girl, p. 27; see also Griffith, The Road to Maturity,
pp. 203-204; Merle Eyles (1939) You and Yourself advice for growing up
girls, p. 166 (London: Duckworth).
[42] Lindsey & Evans, The Revolt of Modern Youth, pp. 191-192.
[43] For example, Burt, The Young Delinquent, p. 243.
[44] Wheeler, The Service of Youth, p. 71; see also Pearl Jephcott (1942) Girls
Growing Up, p. 137 (London: Faber & Faber).
[45] Josephine M. Brew (1943) In the Service of Youth: a practical manual of
work among adolescents, p. 175 (London: Faber & Faber); Jephcott, Rising
Twenty, ch. 2; Jephcott, Girls Growing Up, ch. 6.
[46] Mass Observation, August 1949, File Report 3150 (University of Sussex),
Appendix, p. 14. See also, Brew, In the Service of Youth, pp. 27-28; Board of
Education Educational Pamphlets no.119 (1943) Sex Education in Schools
and Youth Organisations, p. 4 (London: HMSO).
[47] Gertrude Williams (1945) Women and Work (London: Nicholson & Watson),
introduction to series.
[48] Womens training for citizenship within the armed forces focused on
domestic subjects. See Penelope Summerfield (1981) Education and Politics
in the British Armed Forces in the Second World War, International
Review of Social History, XXVI, p. 151. Although citizenship was presented
as important for men and women, there are indications that men remained
the primary and public citizens. For example, in Mass Observation, File
Report 499 (21 November 1940), p. 3, the author laments the withdrawal
from the community of the vital force of men under forty. This
prioritisation of public/male citizenship is rather contradictory given the
emphasis placed on the family, womens arena, for the well-being of
individuals and society.
[49] On young womens interest in dancing, see Jephcott, Rising Twenty,
pp. 67-68; Benjamin Seebohm Rowntree (1941) Poverty and Progress,
pp. 350, 375 (London: Longmans, Green and Co.); James & Moore,
Adolescent Leisure. On cinema, see note 50 and on reading see note 51.
[50] Jephcott, Rising Twenty, ch. 7; Jephcott, Girls Growing Up, ch. 5. See also,
Rowntree Poverty and Progress, pp. 350, 412-413.
[51] Jephcott, Rising Twenty, p. 115; also Jephcott, Girls Growing Up, ch.5 and
Augustus John Jenkinson (1940) What Do Boys and Girls Read? (London:
Methuen).
[52] For example, Jephcott, Rising Twenty, p. 110; Jephcott, Girls Growing Up,
pp. 60, 130-131; Board of Education Educational Pamphlets no. 117 (1943)
Youth in a City, p. 2 (London: HMSO).
[53] For example: Rowntree, Poverty and Progress, p. 353; Jephcott, Rising
Twenty, pp. 146-147 and Girls Growing Up, pp. 146-147.
[54] Jephcott, Girls Growing Up, p. 110.
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[55] Durant, Problem of Leisure, p. 91. See also Durant, Problem of Leisure,
pp. 88-93; Jephcott, Girls Growing Up, p. 118; Madeline Rooff (1935) Youth
and Leisure. A Survey of Girls Organisations in England and Wales,
pp. 75-80 (Edinburgh: T. & A. Constable).
[56] Jephcott, Rising Twenty, pp. 158-159.
[57] Jephcott, Girls Growing Up, p. 109; see also, Durant, Problem of Leisure,
pp. 92-93.
[58] For example: Jephcott, Girls Growing Up, p. 158; Ministry of Education
(1947) School and Life: a first enquiry into the transition from school to
independent life, p. 25 (London: HMSO).
[59] Wall, Adolescent Child, p. 23; see also, Jephcott, Girls Growing Up,
pp. 138-139.
[60] Durant, Problem of Leisure, pp. 93-94. These concerns were reiterated
during the 1940s; see, for example, Jephcott, Girls Growing Up, pp. 110-111,
138-139; Jephcott, Rising Twenty, p. 173.
[61] For example, Durant, Problem of Leisure, p. 94, note 1; Jephcott, Rising
Twenty, pp. 21, 92; Mass Observation, File Report 3150, 1949.
[62] Board of Education (1943) The Service of Youth after the War, p. 6
(London: HMSO).
[63] For example, Jephcott, Girls Growing Up, pp. 119, 123; Jephcott, Rising
Twenty, p. 173. See also notes 83 and 85.
[64] See Tinkler, An All-round Education; James Walvin (1978) Leisure and
Society, 1830-1950, pp. 147, 148 (London: Longman); Graves, Policy and
Progress, ch. XXIV.
[65] Board of Education Circular 1486 (1939) The Service of Youth, p. 1
(London: HMSO).
[66] Board of Education Circular 1516 (June 1940) The Challenge of Youth
(London: HMSO).
[67] Board of Education Circular 1529 (November 1940) Youth, Physical
Recreation and Service (London: HMSO).
[68] Board of Education, Challenge of Youth, p. 1.
[69] For example: Wheeler, The Service of Youth; Brew, In the Service of
Youth.
[70] Wheeler, The Service of Youth, p. 72.
[71] Girls Own Paper, February 1943, p. 19.
[72] Ministry of Education, School and Life, p. 69.
[73] For details of this debate, see A.E. Morgan (1943) Young Citizen,
pp. 136-141 (Harmondsworth: Penguin); Bryan H. Reed (1950) Eighty
Thousand Adolescents. A Study of Young People in the City of
Birmingham ... for the Edward Cadbury Charitable Trust, pp. 153-154
(London: George Allen & Unwin). For discussion of the attitudes of girls
club leaders, see Rooff, Youth and Leisure.
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[74] For example: Rooff, Youth and Leisure, pp. 93-94, 133; Jephcott, Rising
Twenty, pp. 165-166; Brew, In the Service of Youth, p. 58.
[75] Morgan, Young Citizen, pp. 120-121. Rooff, Youth and Leisure, p. 95 refers
to the introduction of a married womens section into a girls club and the
opportunities this affords girls to care for younger children.
[76] Morgan, Young Citizen, p. 138.
[77] Ministry of Education, School and Life, p. 75.
[78] Rooff, Youth and Leisure, p. 2.
[79] Jephcott, Girls Growing Up, p. 159. For discussion of the youth service and
citizenship, see Tinkler, At Your Service; also Tinkler, An All-Round
Education.
[80] Jephcott, Girls Growing Up, p. 158. For discussion of international
understanding, see Tinkler, English Girls and the International Dimensions
of British Citizenship.
[81] Rooff, Youth and Leisure.
[82] Rooff, Youth and Leisure, p. 168, see also pp. 136, 139, 143, 168-169.
[83] For example: Brew, In the Service of Youth, p. 28; Mass Observation File
Report 1422, 1942; see also note 61 above. See discussion in Penny Tinkler
(2000) Girlhood in Transition? Peparing English girls for Adulthood in a
Reconstructed Britain, in Claire Duchen & Irene Bandhauer-Schoffmann
(Eds) When the War was Over. Women, War and Peace in Europe,
1940-1956, pp. 66-68 (London: Leicester University Press).
[84] Ministry of Education, School and Life, p. 73. See also Board of Education,
Youth in a City, p. 2.
[85] For example: Brew, In the Service of Youth, pp. 57-59; Reed, Eighty
Thousand Adolescents, p. 153-154; Morgan, Young Citizen, p. 139. These
views were also voiced pre-war, for example, Rooff, Youth and Leisure,
pp. 93-94.
[86] Janet Finch & Penny Summerfield (1991) Social Reconstruction and the
Emergence of Companionate Marriage, 1945-59, in David Clark (Ed.)
Marriage, Domestic Life and Social Change: writings for Jacqueline
Burgoyne, pp. 7-32 (London: Routledge).
[87] Board of Education, The Youth Service after the War, pp. 13-14; Reed,
Eighty Thousand Adolescents, ch. 3.
[88] See discussion in Tinkler, An All-round Education, pp. 396-399 and At
Your Service, pp. 371-372. Conditions of work were described as an
obstacle pre-war in Rooff, Youth and Leisure, pp. 76-79, 149.


PENNY TINKLER is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Sociology at the
University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PL, United
Kingdom (penny.tinkler@man.ac.uk). She has written extensively on aspects
of twentieth-century girlhood and growing up, including girls leisure,
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education, citizenship and consumerism and she is the author of
Constructing Girlhood: popular magazines for girls growing up in
England, 1920-1950. Penny is currently researching the feminisation of
smoking in Britain, 1900-1970, and has published several articles on this
topic.






































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YOUNG WOMEN AND LEISURE, 193050
261


HYSTORICAL FICTIONS:
WOMEN, HISTORY AND AUTHORSHIP
University of Wales Swansea, 5-7 August 2003

Keynote speakers: Stevie Davies, Patricia Duncker, Jay Taverner
(Jacky Bratton and Jane Traies)

This conference seeks to address the nature of the past and history as
it is and has been written by women authors. Recent years have
witnessed a renaissance in women writers using the past in their
fiction. Authors such as Margaret Atwood, A.S. Byatt, Angela Carter,
Stevie Davies, Patricia Duncker, Phillipa Gregory, Jackie Kay, Fatima
Mernissi, Toni Morrison, Michele Roberts, Rose Tremain, Alice
Walker, and Sarah Waters actively engage with the pastnot only the
past as distant from the present, but also specific pasts, specific
periods / cultures and actual historical figures. If the past is by
definition the origin of the present, what kind of theorised view of
history do women authors offer us? Can history, or the use of history
in fiction, be theorised? What is it about history and the possibilities
of (re-)writing it that so appeals to (contemporary) women writers?
Why the use of a particular historical period? What kind of
connections are authors trying to create between the period in which
they write and the period they write about? Does the past merely offer
a framing discourse for these fictions or is there also a deliberate
attempt to reclaim the past? Do various genres deal differently with
concepts of the past and its relationship to the present / future?
Speakers explore these issues and the multiple treatments of the past
offered by both historical and contemporary female authors.

For further information contact: Ann Heilmann and Mark Llewellyn,
Department of English Language and Literature, University of Wales
Swansea, Singleton Park, Swansea SA2 8PP
Tel. 01792 205678 ext. 4307
Email: a.b.heilmann@swansea.ac.uk or: m.e.llewellyn@ntlworld.com
For booking details contact: Peter Belcher, Conference Services,
University of Wales Swansea, Singleton Park, Swansea SA2 8PP
Tel: 01792 295665 / 295660
Email: conferences@swansea.ac.uk


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Penny Tinkler
262
THE SUFFRAGETTE AND
WOMENS HISTORY

One-day Conference at the University of Portsmouth
11 October 2003
To celebrate and assess the centenary foundation of the
Womens Social and Political Union (WSPU) by
Emmeline Pankhurst on 10 October 1903

CALL FOR PAPERS
Emmeline Pankhurst founded the WSPU to campaign for the
parliamentary vote for women on the same terms as it is, or shall be,
granted to men. For the next eleven years, suffragettes (as WSPU
members became known) grabbed the headlines as they engaged in a
fierce struggle with the government for womens right to citizenship in
Edwardian Britain. A Conference to celebrate and assess the part played
by the WSPU in womens history will take place on 11th October 2003
at the University of Portsmouth, United Kingdom. The Conference
organisers invite proposals for relevant papers that may fall within the
following themes: historiographical debates: the nineteenth-century
campaigns: ideas and discourses: campaigns, pageantry and marketing:
the WSPU and the history of feminism: suffrage biography: suffrage
autobiography: suffrage drama and fiction: womens culture and the
WSPU: outside London: suffragettes and suffragists: suffrage press: the
Antis: other suffrage organisations: nationalism and womens suffrage:
race and womens suffrage: the international context: after 1918.

The Conference organisers welcome proposals for panels and individual
papers. The deadline for submissions is 1st June 2003. Proposals should
include a short abstract of up to 100 words of the paper and a brief
curriculum vitae for each contributor. A Special Issue of Womens
History Review, to be edited by June Purvis and Sandra Stanley Holton,
will appear from a selection of the papers.

The University of Portsmouth is close to Portsmouth and Southsea
railway station which is one and a half hours by rail from Waterloo,
London. Please address all proposals to June Purvis, School of Social,
Historical and Literary Studies, University of Portsmouth, Milldam Site,
Burnaby Road, Portsmouth PO1 3AS, United Kingdom
(june.purvis@port.ac.uk)