The Fluctuating Image of the 20th Century American Father
A sample of 223 family cartoons published in the Saturday Evening Post from 1924 to 1944 were analyzed for the extent to which the father figures and mother figures in the cartoon were depicted as "incompetent." The rationale behind the study, following Day and Mackey (1986), was to see whether the image of the American father had changed significantly in the early part of the 20th century. Day and Mackey's findings led them to conclude that the 1970s marked an unprecedented shift in the "paradigm through which fathers were viewed." The study, however, indicates that a similar shift had occurred in the 1930s and early 1940s, and proposes that the image of the 20th century American father has changed not once but at least twice, and that the pattern of change is not linear, as is commonly held, but one of fluctuation.
Journal of Marriage and Family
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