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The Absolutely Literate blog is for people interested in writing, editing, design, history and family history.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Agent Carter - a taste of sexism in the 1940s

I watched Marvel's Agent Carter last night and while not strictly speaking a historical show it felt a bit like a sequel to Bomb Girls. The comic book based TV show is set in the post WWII era in 1946 but has the added twist of super villians from the Marvel Comic world. The show has lots of nice little bits that give you a feel of what life was like for women in that era.

Despite her work during the war Agent Peggy Carter is relegated to secretarial duties in the Strategic Scientific Reserve (the top secret Allied war agency). The male agents ask her to make coffee and do filing. Carter’s roommate Colleen complains that she has to train men to do her job at the factory and that the women are being laid off and replaced by men. Rosie the Riveter was being replaced with images of women in domestic roles and women were strongly encouraged to stay at home and not continue doing “men’s work.”

Carter’s interview for a room at a women’s residence really highlighted society’s expectations for how women were supposed to behave. They were only expected to work until they got married and lead a modest life.

So while not a history show the research and attention to detail gives the story a realistic feel.

Besides, Agent Peggy Carter is a woman to be admired, tough, resourceful, and smart.

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