During the 1950s there was high tension between the United State and the Soviet Union. Both sides feared an attack on their way of life. The United States emphasized the importance of “Domestic Containment,” which was the idea that the “stable family” was the best thing to prevent the invasion of Communism. The “Stable Family” consisted of the husband being the “money maker” and the wife being the “homemaker.” The wife would be responsible for being submissive to their husband’s needs and keeping the kids content. Women would be suppressed from doing anything involving the workforce or politics. The post-war world emphasized the importance of preventing the invasion of communism in the household. “Women continually heard the message that their place in the home was vitally important not just for their families but for all of society.”(Brennan,117). The future president Richard Nixon once said, “No better existence for women than keeping a perfect house and pointed out the different appliances available to aid the American housewife by lessening her workload.”(Brennan,119). The idea of a future president stressing the importance of women being forced to be the “homemaker” is sickening.
Anticommunists feared that communism would lure women away from their normal duties of taking care of their husbands, children, and their domestic responsibilities. This was similar to the lavender scare with how the American people feared that homosexuals could be easily persuaded by their “masters” and destroy the normal American way of life. Women were expected to have dinner ready before their husband arrives, touch up their makeup, fix their hair, make sure that the house was cleaned, make sure that the kids were well taken care of, and many more. If you were to take yourself away from these norms, then you would be at significant risk of being attacked by the anticommunists. Some examples of women who would be attacked by these anticommunists were Anna Pauker, Muriel Draper, and Margaret Chase Smith.
Anna Pauker was a foreign minister of Rumania and was referred to as “the most powerful woman alive at the time.” She was portrayed as a masculine, angry, uncompromising, communist woman. There were many rumors spread about her throughout the United States. One example was she turned her husband in to the Soviet Secret Police and watched as they brutally murdered her husband when in reality she was in prison when the soviet government rounded up and exterminated him. She still continued to work with Soviet Party until she was the leader of Rumania. According to the anticommons, “Pauker represented a prime example of the evils communism visited upon women: it had destroyed her womanly virtues and turned her into a ruthless communist robot.”(Brennan 123).
Muriel Draper was an American woman, who would be under attack by the anti-communist newsletter, National Republic Lettergram. According to the article, she became “bored and disgruntled” with her normal life and left her husband to join the soviet cause. The article claimed that if she would have just stayed with her husband and kids all her needs would come back to her. This was completely different from reality. She came from a wealthy family and left her husband due to his gambling issue and alcoholism.
Margaret Chase Smith was an anti-communist at heart. She would directly attack her opponents, including the president. Smith stated that the only thing that would be able to save America and American freedoms was the republican party. In her speeches, she would only speak about women when talking about their traditional role as a homemaker. These speeches would cause a lot of attention to herself. Clara Speer who was a member of the Federated Women’s Republican Club felt that Smith was a poor example and wanted women to be put in government positions which were against everything Smith was trying to speak about.