The “Ideal” Family: How Second Wave Periodicals Challenged the Nuclear Family

This digital exhibition examines how women during the Second Wave Feminist Movement challenged and redefined the normative concepts of family. The idea of the nuclear family originated in the 1920s and quickly became a dominant ideology in society. The “ideal” family in this model consists of a father and a stay-at-home mother, who takes care of their two children. Feminist journals, such as Aphra and Women: A Journal for Liberation, include several editions examining the nuclear family. These journals reject and deconstruct the assigned roles that the nuclear family framework enforces. Through literature, women found freedom and solidarity by emphasizing the frustration of living in a constricting household. This digital exhibition focuses on how Second Wave feminist periodicals unveil the truth behind a confining marriage, challenge the expected roles of motherhood, and reveal the traumas of sexual violence within the family.

–Ruby Navarro


“Functions of the Family” by Linda Gordon

“Belinda Berkeley” by Irina

“Untitled” by Lydia D Kelly

“Closer to the Loss” by Colette Inez