Placing Gender and Automobiles into Perspective

Gender and Automobility: The Pioneering and Early Years

Gender and Automobility: Consumerism and the Great Economic Boom

Gender and Automobility: Sexual Equality in Modern Times

Gender on the Line


Critical Bibliography

Full Bibliography

Complete Text
Printable View


Student & Teacher Resources

Gender and the Automobile in the United States

by Margaret Walsh


Automobiles have been central to American lives throughout most of the twentieth century. Initially considered “boy’s toys,” they were popularized and then mass-produced into becoming essential modes of transportation for a modernizing society. Many women may have been inhibited about taking the wheel while there was less than one car per household unit, but they wanted to learn how to drive and seized their opportunities whenever they were presented. Having gained a measure of independence during World War II and being part of the post-war affluent society, they adopted the automobile as a type of second home in which they drove to implement their newly-emerging status as homemaker and gainfully employed worker. Their auto usage and dependency increased like that of their male peers, such that by the end of the century the automobile had become either a gendered or a genderless vehicle.



<<Previous Section       -       Next Section>>

About the Project | Credits | Contact Us | Student & Teacher Resources | Site Map
©2004 Automobile in American Life and Society