Before the 1950s the typical household always consisted of the working man and the stay-at-home housewife. This lifestyle was almost never questioned and the majority of the U.S. population lived by this. The husband left for work every morning and the wife was left to get the kids ready for school and do household chores the rest of the day. She prepared dinner, did laundry, and cleaned the house. This was the true capitalist lifestyle back in the day. As years went on though women began wanting more than the life of staying home every day and doing all of the housework. They wanted to be able to have jobs and be the breadwinner of the family. They wanted equality in household chores and the responsibilities of children. They no longer wanted to be seen as the lesser counterpart to men. It was the beginning of the fight for equality for women.
The U.S. government wanting to keep women in their place, began a movement saying women who want to be free of the typical housewife job are communists. They started spreading propaganda about how a soviet woman is independent of her family and does not care for her kids or husband. That a soviet woman has masculine features and is not appealing to the typical man. In doing this it lead a lot of women who were once for the freedom of the housewife to change their view and go back to wanting the typical nuclear family that was so popular during this time. It created fear in the women that they would be accused of communism and bring bad omens to their families. Though women felt strong about their stance wanting equal rights and opportunities to men. The fear of communism was stronger and kept a lot of women quiet for some time. This of course work in the government’s favor for both scenarios. It kept women in the house to do the chores and take care of the kids, and it kept the red scare going in the U.S. which caused even more people to fear and hate communism.
These beliefs were fueled by propaganda about women who chose equality and were a part of the communist party. Like Anna Pauker, who was an independent woman that was affiliated with the communist party during her time. They made her out to be this gross heartless woman that did not care about her husband. They painted her out to have manly features that were unappealing to men. They also said that when she found out the party she worked for had killed her husband for being a traitor, she laughed and felt no remorse. They also use Muriel Draper as propaganda against equality. Saying how she divorced her husband and claiming that she wanted nothing to do with a family. They used her as an example because she also worked with the communist party in the U.S. and she also wanted equal rights for women at the time. These examples were used to portray women that wanted equal rights as terrible, dirty communists that did not care about family and wanted to see the downfall of the United States.
One thought on “The Fear of Being an Independent Woman”
After reading your blog post I agreed with what you said about how the government wanted to “keep women in their place” and if they were not doing so they were communists. It showed how women were thought of, and did not have a voice of their own but should only slave away to the man in the house.