This is a lesson I developed for use with the essay by this name found in Davidson and Lytle’s After the Fact. It seemed to work well, perhaps just because it is so different from my more usual fare:
“From Rosie to Lucie”
We’ll answer these questions in small groups and then share the results: In your group take about 15 minutes to read or watch video . Be ready to talk about the questions I’ve asked as well as the group question at the end.
1/ Women as part of the War Effort:
How much of a departure was women in the workforce during the second world war How did the media depict the women who contributed to the workforce? What would women who participated in the war effort feel about leaving their jobs at the end of the war?
2/ In The Feminine Mystique (1963)Betty In 1957, Friedan was asked to conduct a survey of her former Smith College classmates for their 15th anniversary reunion; the results, in which she found that many of them were unhappy with their lives as housewives, prompted her to begin research for The Feminine Mystique, conducting interviews with other suburban housewives, as well as researching psychology, media, and advertising. Freidan expressed the frustration of American women forced back into domestic roles after tasting freedom during World War II
Why do you think this book became so widely read?
What thoughts do you have on this 2013 critique of the book in the Atlantic Magazine?
In terms of the statistics did women stop being in the workforce, or did the jobs they held change? What happened?
3/ Looking at “I Love Lucy”, what message does it deliver about women in the Post-War US?
Does this 1959 clip have a feminist strain? Does it presage Betty Friedan? Or is it as Patricia Mellencamp suggests is it “Containment operated through laughter” that “might have worked to have held women in their place”
4/ Looking at “The Honeymooners”
The Honeymooners was retro in a number of ways. The other family sit-coms showed families in small towns or in the newly developing suburbs. But this sit-com was based in a crowded apartment in the city– more an image of the depression than the l950s. How would you analyze the first ten minutes of this show in terms of women’s roles. …
Question for everyone: As potential historians how should we evaluate the media that is contemporary to period we study: Do images and expectations of people in media show cultural “domination” or “reflection” (358 – 60).
In other words do the media show the historian what people thought/think?
Or do they strongly influence what people thought/ think ?