Jennifer Hyland Wang (2018) Producing a Radio Housewife: Clara, Lu ‘n’ Em, Gendered Labor, and the Early Days of Radio
This article examines how the writers and publicists behind the pioneering radio serial Clara, Lu ‘n’ Em circulated representations of gendered labor in early prime-time and daytime network radio. Through their satiric impersonations of “syntax-scrambling” midwestern housewives, the careful promotion of the three young stars, and their sale of Super Suds to American housewives, they established gender norms for both the production and the consumption of commercial messages in early radio. The creative team supporting Clara, Lu ‘n’ Em helped write the script for how broadcasters and sponsors could negotiate economic pressures and cultural concerns about women’s paid work in the young medium. By embracing domesticity, the program negotiated the division then developing between prime-time and daytime programming, modeled modern consumer behavior for a mass female audience, and pledged its support for gendered spheres of labor.
This article has also been added to our bibliography.