The graph above (11)
clearly shows that all women were working full-time for at least one month during 1950.
While ultimately 3 million women worked in war plants, the majority of women who worked during World War II worked in traditionally
female occupations, like the service sector. The number of women in skilled jobs was actually few. Most women worked in tedious
and poorly paid jobs in order to free men to take better paying jobs or to join the service. The only area that there was a true
mixing of the sexes was in semiskilled and unskilled blue-collar work in factories.
However, women's role actually extended greatly in some countries: there were thousands of others joined defensive militias at
home and there was a great increase in the number of women serving in the military itself, particularly in the Red Army.
Although more and more women population in work had increased, it took quite some time in changing changing men's attitudes.
Male employees and male-controlled unions were suspicious of women. Companies saw women¡¯s needs and desires on the job as
secondary to men's and did not take them seriously or give much attention. However, as time went on and more and more women
entered the work force, the attitudes towards women workers changed. Also the decreased number of women in work after the war
increased again. Therefore, we can conclude that the war accented the current trend toward an increase in the women labor market,
and elevated their rights.
Moreover, the paternal absence from family, an the stability of the traditional roles, women for domesticity and the man's role
as breadwinner, brought a huge change in gender castration. In some movies such as It's a wonderful life
, there is no
presence of any family in film noir but a figure of sexually predatory femme fatale. (12)
In the post-war United States, there were a lot of films noir which particularly proceeds psychoanalytic prospectives of
sexually-aggressive figure of womanhood, and husband hunting movies also proceeds not in a psychoanalytic way but in a reflective way,
shows the elevation of woman's social status in postwar period. In the film, woman are usually depicted as a masculinized type
V. Media & Cultural Development
Even behind the rise of strong leading actors, there is cultural history explaining how they themselves and their movies were loved
by a number of people.
V.1 The Impact of Golden Age of Television
In the post war era, motion pictures are entering the third major era: Television Age, first as a silent period, and then the sound
era. The presence of television meant that fifty million Americans will be able to sit at home and take their choices of visiting
the ball park, or the legitimate theater, and the motion pictures without stirring from their own living rooms. It required something
truly superior to cause them not only to leave their homes to be entertained, but to pay for that entertainment. (13)
The following statistics is about the number of television increased in distribution (14)
Motion Picture Industry had to turn out pictures several times as good as pictures are on the average. The Hollywood heroines definitely
would have been the solution for motion picture industry to meet the competition.
V.2 Rise of New Age - Exciting Symbols
In the period following WWII when most of the films were idealized with conventional portrayals of men and women, young people wanted new
and exciting symbols. The young adults seems to know about the world in a quite early age though mass media. Magazines and newsreels were
full of beaming couples buying houses and cars, and television dramas and commercials contained meesages about male and female identity.
A lot of singers and movie actresses such as Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, Bettie Page, Sophia Loren, Marlon Brando, Grace Kelly, and
hundreds of stars became sex symbols of the 1950s. (15)
The 50s decade also ushered in the age of Rock and Roll and a new younger market of teenagers. This youth-oriented group was opposed to
the older generation's choice of nostalgic films. With the Hollywood¡¯s Golden Age which lasted till the late 1950s, the burgeoning number
of stars came up on screens. During that time, MGM claimed it had contracted "more stars than there are in heaven."
the film screen and had the top stars in Hollywood, and created the Hollywood star system altogether as well; From this, a number
of Hollywood heroines were born.
Through multi-dimensional research of the phenomenon, we figured out that it was not only historical but also cultural and technological
advancement that cause the husband hunting after the second World War. The emergence of the attractive young women who struggles to attract
men's attention was, in other words, incontrovertible situation for women, and one of the marketing strategies for the film industry.
1. Boxwell 1977
2a. Mitchell 2003
2b. Mitchell 1987
2c. Mitchell 1987
2d. Mitchell 1987
4. Immigration Statistics USA
6. Jarratt 2008
7. Boys' Historical Clothing
9. Harvey 1993
12. Chopra-Gant 2006
14. TV history
Note : websites quoted below were visited in 2010.
B.R. Mitchell, International Historical Statistics, Europe 1750-1988, Stockton press 1987
B.R. Mitchell, International Historical Statistics, The Americas 1750-2000, Fifth Edition, Stockton press 2003.
3. The Internet Movie Database.
Brett Harvey, The Fifties - A Women's Oral History, 1993 Harper Collins.
Melynda Jarratt, Captured Hearts: New Brunswick's War Brides,
University of New Brunswick. Dept. of History 2008
Mike Chopra-Gant, Hollywood Genres and Postwar America, I.B. Tauris Publishers. 2006
Eric Smoodin & Ann Martin, Hollywood Quarterly, University of California Press.
, senses of cinema, December 26 1977. http://archive.sensesofcinema.com/contents/directors/02/hawks.html
9. Article : Bimbo, from Wikipedia
10. Article : Sex symbol, from Wikipedia
World War II: A Changed America - War Brides,
Boys Historical Clothing
Tim Dirks, The Dawning of the 50s,
Film History of 1950s
, filmsite. http://www.filmsite.org/50sintro.html
Television Facts and Statistics - 1939 to 2000,
Immigration Statistics USA
, from Maps of the World, http://www.mapsofworld.com/usa/immigration/immigration-statistics-usa.html
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