Red Rag Magazine, Feminist Economics and the Domestic Labour Pains of Liberation

Victoria Bazin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This article examines the domestic labour debate of the 1970s as it was mediated in the Marxist feminist magazine, Red Rag (1972–80). Red Rag’s visual representations of housework wittily demystified the bonds of ‘love’ that bound women to the everyday routines of domestic labour while its theoretical discussions offered alternative feminist perspectives to the New Home Economics, a neo-classical economic approach to the household as well as to Marxist economics that occluded women’s labour in its emphasis on production. Within the pages of the magazine, an emerging feminist economics developed that challenged the gendered production boundaries reinforcing the division of labour, graphically depicted intra-household conflict and exposed the ideological assumptions that rendered caring labour invisible. It was not only in terms of theory, however, that Red Rag contributed to these debates but also in terms of its collective practice. The process of making the magazine became the subject of editorials reflecting on how feminists worked together. Red Rag’s analysis of its own production processes illuminated the internal tensions within the collective but also pointed to some of the ‘contradictions’ within the WLM, contradictions that were bound up with the cultural capital attached to economic theory and the authority this conferred on the Red Rag collective.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)295-317
JournalWomen: A Cultural Review
Volume32
Issue number3-4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2021

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