WOMEN AND THE MACHINE: REPRESENTATIONS FROM THE SPINNING WHEEL TO THE ELECTRONIC AGE (Johns Hopkins University Press)


See book's website www.womenandthemachine.com For new copies contact the author. Multiple copies available for classroom use.

Review From PUBLISHERS WEEKLY:

The image of the flustered woman unable to change a tire or recognize a Phillips screwdriver is so common it's practically archetypal but then again, so is her counterpart, Rosie the Riveter. Wosk (a professor of English and art at the State University of New York, Maritime College) takes these images their place in history, literature, art and advertising and deconstructs them in this engaging and entertaining but nonpreachy feminist history. She posits that women and technology always seemed like strange bedfellows to men, and to many women, too. The world of machines, after all, historically belonged to men; women's involvement in technology signaled both an intrusion into male turf and an abandonment of the female landscape of hearth and home. Using illustrations, cartoons and photographs from the past three centuries, Wosk delineates shifts in social acceptance of women's relationship to technology. Typewriters, spinning wheels, sewing machines and household appliances are all given their due, as are bicycles, cars and airplanes. But there are intriguing asides, too, like the technology of women's corsets, bustles and hoops. How women were inveigled into factories during World War II and then lured back into the home all via the mechanics of machines and appliances is fascinating. Wosk also delves deep into the use of women to sell machines, from factory equipment to automobiles. With the sleek detail of a gift book, Wosk's history may look deceptively slight, but her work is complex, comprehensive and highly readable. Illus. and photos.