The Quiet Feminist: Feminist Themes in the Work of Erma Bombeck

Student Author(s)

Megan Stevens

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Jeanne Petit

Document Type


Event Date



During her most productive years in the 1970s and ‘80s, humorist Erma Bombeck brought laughter to millions of readers across America with her newspaper columns, Good Morning America segments, and bestselling books. Although she is best remembered for her writing, Bombeck was also active in feminism. She served on the Presidential Advisory Committee for Women during the time of the Equal Rights Amendment of 1978 and, through her writing, encouraged women everywhere to follow their dreams, even if they felt “too old to change.” In spite of this, very little has been written on Bombeck as a feminist. Therefore this research hopes to analyze feminist themes, such as equal employment and commentary on idealized portrayals of motherhood, in her published books, and argue that through these themes Bombeck brought feminism to her mostly moderate Christian audience.

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