In a country known for its abundance, Americans today hardly think about the quantity of their food choices and the quality of their meals. However, this has not always been the mentality throughout the United States. During World War II, the government required Americans to ration and limit their consumption of crucial wartime goods. Although difficult, the choices Americans were obligated to make directly influenced the war effort as claimed by the national government. The national government and advertising businesses collaborated to promote rationing measures and adherence to the governmental guidelines that limited purchasing of certain materials and foods. These advertisements and propaganda campaigns were heavily gendered towards the typical 1940s American homemaker, encouraging them to see their domestic duties as patriotic service. This study explores promotion of women’s patriotic domesticity in relation to food in three forms: first through the promotion of victory gardens and canning; second through magazine advertisements that showed the housewife’s key contributions to the domestic war effort; third through First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt’s public role in which she modeled a modern approach to food and meal preparation as a form of civic duty. Women were vital to the United States’ efforts on the home front during World War II, and this study considers the government’s promotion of women’s wartime duties and its desire to keep women within preconceived gender roles.


Holt, Katherine



Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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