'Everybody did it' - or did they?: the use of oral history in researching women's experiences of smoking in Britain, 1930-1970

Elliot, R. (2006) 'Everybody did it' - or did they?: the use of oral history in researching women's experiences of smoking in Britain, 1930-1970. Women's History Review, 15(2), pp. 297-322. (doi:10.1080/09612020500529770)

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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09612020500529770

Abstract

From having been predominantly a masculine habit in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, cigarette smoking was adopted by flappers and film stars in the 1920s and 30s, symbolising new types of femininity. However, it was not until the economic and social dislocation of the Second World War that substantial numbers of women began to smoke cigarettes. This article draws on oral history material to explore the reasons why women took up smoking during and following the Second World War. It suggests that smoking among women became more acceptable in a wider range of circumstances following the War, reflecting the adaptability of the cigarette and its role in negotiating an increasingly diverse range of femininities. The article examines the impact of current anti-smoking discourse on smoking narratives, as interviewees set up opposing discourses of social acceptance in their youth and awareness of the health risks today.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Elliot, Dr Rosemary
Authors: Elliot, R.
Subjects:H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Economic and Social History
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > Social Scientists working in Health and Wellbeing
Journal Name:Women's History Review
ISSN:0961-2025

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