Media Portrayals of the Post WWII American Woman Comparison Essay by Nicky

Media Portrayals of the Post WWII American Woman
This essay discusses the role of the post World War II American woman in American society and contrasts the female experience during these years with the portrayal of woman in American media, specifically television.
# 127977 | 1,743 words | 3 sources | MLA | 2010 | US

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This essay explores the media portrayal of women in post World War II America and whether these portrayals were accurate. The essay discusses television figures such as June Cleaver, Donna Read, Mary Tyler Moore and Marlo Thomas and compares these portrayals of women with the reality of the female environment of decades following World War II. The essay finds that the media portrayed women as subservient to men in the 1950s and in later decades portrayed women as completely independent and financially successful. The essay argues that neither portrayal accurately reflected the reality of the post WWII American woman.

From the Paper:

"What, then, was the purpose of departing from reality in so drastic a way between 1950 and the later part of the 1970s when portraying women as less capable than men, and subordinate to the patriarchal society? The answer, of course, is that those depictions served a purpose in society. The early post war depiction of the woman as a high-heeled, neat, orderly housewife was actually presenting an escape from the reality of the American woman and family, is explained in part by films like The Searchers and other John Wayne films. It is not a depiction of what the American woman was, or needed, but a depiction of what the American man needed to be, and how he needed to feel about himself (McCarthy, Patrick, 1997, 165)."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Douglas, William. Television Families: Is Something Wrong in Suburbia?. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2003. Questia. 12 Oct. 2008 <>.
  • Gregory, James N. American Exodus The Dust Bowl Migration and Okie Culture in California. New York: Oxford University Press, 1991. Questia. 12 Oct. 2008 <>.
  • McCarthy, Patrick. "The Mountain Man and American Anguish: The Telewester, the Scapegoat Complex, and the Extreme West." Journal of Popular Film and Television 24.4 (1997): 165-176. Questia. 12 Oct. 2008 <>.

Cite this Comparison Essay:

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Media Portrayals of the Post WWII American Woman (2010, June 21) Retrieved March 02, 2024, from

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"Media Portrayals of the Post WWII American Woman" 21 June 2010. Web. 02 March. 2024. <>