When the boys came home the assumption was the women would just go back home, but what happened instead was a push to keep women in the workforce. We can take a step back here to discuss the fact that prior to the war, women in the film were actually portrayed vastly differently, the same was true in novels. The independent woman was featured in films through the 30-50s and there was a large genre of films that focused on this role of the vamp but not in the negative, more that she was a victim to her own circumstances. There was still a slight against women because honestly since early history the idea of the ‘free woman’ a woman that was uncontrolled by men was terrifying.
I think we have to pull back the curtain to a time long ago in which we women were seen as very secured in the roles that defined them, but were they? If you actually take a lense at history what you find is that this was not always the case. Women were considered to be very equal in terms of power through a number of ages, but still always had to be mothers or wives or something that would at least inhibit the power they had.
Survival did not lend itself to women being free to do what they pleased, because of dominating forces to keep genetic lines fairly stable and to ensure linage, having one man involved in multiple pregnancies was a lot more acceptable than the inverse. We know that history had women in same-sex relationships but often they had to also bear children, there was little avoidance of that.
As women aspired to have even some of the same freedoms that men had, including the freedom just to have something of their own, gender roles got bent. We know that history shows women who wore false beards and armor, to the princess that wore fake codpieces to wear the garments of men. Fast forward to more recent history, films tried to keep this long view of women as domesticated over the role of women as more independent by creating an entire class of films.
“dutiful, reliable, trustworthy and loving women” like the June Cleaver, Ms. Brady, etc, these were the matronly women who were always there with milk and cookies and a big hug.
femmes fatales – mysterious, duplicitous, subversive, double-crossing, gorgeous, unloving, predatory, tough-sweet, unreliable, irresponsible, manipulative, and desperate women. Usually, these are like the classical women in Baby Jane, Sunset Bulevard as examples