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- Journal Article
This article examines domestic interior design developed and propagated by the home economics movement in post-war America for women physically disabled by the poliovirus and other causes resulting in similar impairments. It argues that domestic interior design was maximally assistive, facilitating the disabled in their everyday tasks, in particular domestic labour. This article shows that home economists fostered post-war efforts supporting the disabled in the following ways: 1) in addition to designing individual domestic aids, they developed more effective holistic spatial solutions, 2) in addition to devising and teaching bodily techniques to help the disabled in their daily tasks, they advanced the social notion of disability by addressing the disability circumstantially: creating accommodating environments that alleviated the effects of physical constraints, often by harnessing societal means (institutional, financial, and legislative), 3) they defied the stereotype portraying women with physical constraints as unproductive and unsuited for marriage, childcare, and housekeeping by presenting the disabled homemaker as being capable, especially when equipped with adequate aids, and deserving to have a family of their own. Furthermore, this article explains how and why the home economists did not undermine traditional gender roles. Show more
Journal / seriesJournal of Design History
PublisherOxford University Press
Subjectdisability; domestic space; women; design; body; modern
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