Jam and Jerusalem/Sentimentality and Feminism: Calendar Girls

Part of the Performance Interventions book series (PIPI)


Founded in 1915, The Women’s Institute (WI) proudly announces itself as ‘the largest voluntary organisation for women in the UK’.1 Set up with a view to encouraging women’s assistance with food production during the First World War and to facilitate social networking in rural communities, over time the WI has been popularly perceived as promoting a conservative idea of woman-as-homemaker, or woman as the proverbial jam-maker par excellence.2 In short, associated with the rural, the domestic and the feminine, the WI figures in the popular imagination as parochial and old-fashioned; as an organisation it is comically regarded, albeit with a certain kind of national affection. Further, in the feminist imagination the WI appears as the antithesis of Women’s Liberation, is ‘rarely associated with feminism’ (Andrews, 1997: vii) because of its founding belief in the idea of woman as domesticated rather than liberated.


Liberationist Discourse Gender Prejudice Founding Belief Photo Shoot Collective Breath 
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Copyright information

© Elaine Aston and Geraldine Harris 2013

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  • Elaine

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