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From Rosie the Riveter to Harriet the Happy Homemaker: Women on Screen During and After World War II

November 7, 2014, 7:30 pm - 8:45 pm

Geneva History Museum
543 South Main Street
Geneva, NY 14456

In this lecture Robert Edelman will explore how the role of women in American society changed during World War II, as seen through film clips of the era. This lecture is free and open to the general public. This event is made possible through the New York Council for the Humanities Speakers in the Humanities program with the support of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Before the Second World War, American women were expected to marry and remain at home to keep house and raise their children, while their husbands were the breadwinners. During the war, however, women worked assembly lines, entered the military, and experienced personal and economic freedom that previously had been the exclusive domain of men. Peacetime meant a return to “normalcy,” and the expectation that women would cheerfully exchange their paychecks for aprons, regain their lost “femininity,” and return to their traditional roles within the American family. Clips from the era's Hollywood movies will illustrate the manner in which women were expected to act during and after the war.

Rob Edelman is a Lecturer in film history at the University at Albany. He offers film commentary on WAMC Public Radio, is a longtime contributing editor of Leonard Maltin's Movie & Video Guide, and has written books and articles on freedom of the press and film.

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