Girl Power?

During the 1950s, the idea of domestic containment gained adherents due to several factors, including the end of World War II and the beginning of the Cold War. With the threat of communism, many Americans wanted to strengthen their national identity and promote traditional values to counter the perceived communist threat. The gendered beliefs of the time assumed that women belonged in the home as homemakers, where they could provide emotional and moral support to their husbands and raise their children in a traditional environment. This idea was seen as crucial to the success of the nation and its containment efforts, and women who deviated from this ideal were seen as a threat to national security.

Anna Pauker, a Romanian politician, and diplomat was accused of being a communist sympathizer and a potential security risk due to her political beliefs and her gender. She was the only woman to hold the position of foreign minister in a Soviet-aligned government, and her gender was used to portray her as emotional and irrational, unfit for the position.

Muriel Draper, a writer, and socialite was targeted by the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) for her left-leaning political beliefs and association with other suspected communists. Her gender was used against her in the hearings, with committee members questioning her about her relationships with men and implying that she was promiscuous and morally suspect.

Jean Kerr, a writer, and playwright was criticized by conservative commentators for her portrayal of working women in her writing, which was seen as promoting an agenda that undermined the traditional role of women as homemakers. Her gender was used to discredit her work, with critics arguing that she was not qualified to comment on the experiences of women because she was not a mother herself.

One thought on “Girl Power?

  1. Someone becoming a communist meant that they would be switching their way of living and swapping with the opposite gender. The men lost their masculinity and gained a girly-girl way of living. Many believed that this meant they were more prone to giving in to communism. Females who lost their femininity by joining the workforce were seen as unstable and unable to make effective decisions that would help everyone. This showed through the women that you mentioned like Anna Pauker, she was a woman with power that left her family, didn’t show remorse to anyone, and was placed on the communist side of politics. Other women like Muriel Draper and Jean Kerr were contradicted by just the fact that they were women.


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