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Summary: This film was first broadcast as an episode of the television program "The American Experience" on Nov. 1, 1988. The film explores the large scale entrance of American women into the paid labor force during World War II in order to fill positions abandoned by American men fighting abroad. The film documents the experiences of women on the American home front during the war. These women talk about empowerment through greater earning power, but also through challenging dominant ideas about the division between masculinity and femininity. The empowerment thesis is challenged by the fact that once the war was over and the soldiers returned home, women were largely asked to leave their jobs and assume their prewar status as homemakers. The film would work well in a class on the sociology of gender, especially as a means of stimulating discussion about the theoretical notion of intersectionality. Gender, race, and nationalism vividly intersect throughout the film.
Submitted By: Lester Andrist