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The Laywoman ProjectRemaking Catholic Womanhood in the Vatican II Era$
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Mary J. Henold

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781469654492

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469654492.001.0001

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Complementarity and Intimate Life

Complementarity and Intimate Life

(p.105) 3 Complementarity and Intimate Life
The Laywoman Project

Mary J. Henold

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter focuses on the community of lay Catholic women who wrote for the magazine Marriage, a magazine for Catholic couples. Transitioning gender roles were a major preoccupation in the magazine in the years during and following Vatican II. Catholics debated issues of vital importance to the identity of Catholic laywomen, including complementarity, gender essentialism, working women, male headship in the family and feminism. The chapter also examines Catholic attitudes toward marital sexuality after the Rhythm Method was largely abandoned by American Catholics as a means of contraception. Although the magazine remained moderate in its responses to the women’s movement, analysis suggests that attitudes about Catholic women’s role in the church, home, and the workplace shifted significantly. Acceptance of complementarity was waning by the mid-1970s as increasing numbers of Catholic laywomen challenged cultural beliefs about Catholic womanhood.

Keywords:   Rhythm Method, Contraception, Sexuality, Male headship, Catholic, laywomen, periodicals, Marriage Magazine, Working women, 1960s

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