‘I conformed; I got married. It seemed like a good idea at the time’
Domesticity in postwar lesbian oral history
in British queer history
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The end of the twentieth century research on postwar British lesbian life and culture has commonly focused on themes such as socialising and the creation of networks, especially the lesbian bar scene and lesbian social organisations. This chapter aims to open a small window on to the obscured area of postwar lesbian domesticity. It draws a distinction between what can usefully be termed hetero-domesticity and homo-domesticity. Analysis of case studies from across the range of experience reveals the impact of available models of hetero-domesticity on the ways in which narrators envisioned and created domestic spaces to foster and live out lesbian relationships. Penelope and Nina speak evocatively about the restrictiveness they imagined would come with hetero-domesticity. In both Laura's and Mira's cases former hetero-domesticity poses a threat to the continuity of their narrative trajectories and their presentation of themselves as out and 'composed' lesbian women.

British queer history

New approaches and perspectives

Editor: Brian Lewis

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