Got a Virginia Slim On Ya?

NPR carried a video on their website, an early informercial of sorts from the 1950’s that amused and horrified me.

If you’ve ever wondered why you feel screwed up, Sisterfriend, here’s some insight.

The video is long, but heck yes, it’s worth the watch. You may not even know about the pioneer women who worked to get us our Fifth Freedom (no relation to Philadelphia Freedom) or that we even have one! Try not to blubber during that soliloquy.

I wrote this post earlier today and it disappeared. Perhaps it self-destructed because I didn’t show the video the proper respect. I’ll make no comments this time, except to tell you that I can’t WAIT to read yours!

The film is part of an exhibit at MoMA. If you want to read the full story of kitchen politics, here is the NPR link:


20 thoughts on “Got a Virginia Slim On Ya?

    1. Sorry for multiple comments: making them as I watch the video. I think my husb’s solution would have been: “Don’t hang out with that woman again.”

  1. The ending took me by surprise! I was expecting just a kitchen re-do, but building a whole new house?

    It was fun to see Darren McGavin chew the scenery with his acting here. When I was first married, we had a refrigerator like the old one here. My Starter Husband got angry (much like McGavin) and tried to “defrost” it using a hammer and a screwdriver. Needless to say, he put a hole in the freezer and the freon started to leak out. Ah, the good old days…

      1. Back in the 50’s we had an incinerator made of bricks out behind our garage in California. Just toss your paper trash in and voila–gone up in smoke. No wonder there was always a smog alert in effect!

    1. And her clothes look like cruel and unusual punishment, with those tight collars, crinolines, cinched wide belts and Dixie cup bras! Plus, that kitchen didn’t have a vase anywhere. She had to wear her flowers under her chin.

  2. Birdie

    This propaganda fails to impress me. What exactly is “easier” or faster about cooking, just because you don’t have to light the pilot?? hello?
    I think the big con pulled on everyone was that these were “labor-saving” devices. They were more convenient to use, but someone still has to shop, unpack groceries, put away, sort, read recipes, chop, cut, etc. AND they then raised the bar as to what a housewife should be able to accomplish with all this “labor-saving”.
    AND furthermore, who among us in the early 60’s had a mother who played golf, or lived in a house that nice?? Think pre-suburbia and all those farm houses where the husbands now went to work at the mill in town.

  3. Yes, all the kitchey stuff is cool, and I have them in my 70’s Ranch Style home, buuuuut, I still can’t break 50 on the links. I think it might have something to do with my apron and putting. Yep, that organdy confection with the the handy pocket…it’s hell on keepin’ you’re head down and eye on the ball….especially with the wind blowing it up over the tee’d up ball. Sure is a time saver, tho, to have it already in place for dashing home and fixin’ that big ole dinner for FOUR!

  4. During the war, women discovered how much they loved making their own money and how many things they could be good at besides homemaking. After the war, in order for the guys to get their jobs back, women had to be enticed back into the kitchen.

    Out of that push grew the whole vacuum-in-your-high-heels movement and all that came with it: the new industry of advertising, the sad demise of the clothesline, keeping up with the Joneses, WWBDD (What would Betty Draper do?), the meteoric rise of podiatry in America, and The Red Skelton Show.

    You just never know, do ya?

  5. Women are so clever aren’t they? Sure, Jane’s best friend was a show off but she also helped Jane accomplish her hearts desire a new house with shiny new appliances….now days its hard to find time to grab a coffee with a girlfriend much less find time to plot against your husbands.

  6. Friends like that are what put people in debt trying to keep up.
    I hardly dress up like that to go to church much less do the laundry. Possibly our 5th freedom is comfort.
    I do agree with TTPT. Not a sign of national obesity there.

  7. I wonder if this is what started the “having to keep up with the Joneses” idea! lol Imagine buying a brand new home instead of just remodeling the one they had. I remember my mom never having all those “modern” conveniences while one of her neighbours did…when dad built us a new home, then she got him to put in all the newfangled appliances. Maybe she had watched that infomercial?! lol xoxo

  8. steffiw

    my husbands only reaction to that was “women playing golf,what next monkey tennis?”when we moved into our dream house, in the kitchen was the very same fridge!sadly the oven was not as modern as the one in the infomercial!

  9. Oh dear God, George needs copious amounts of Valium!

    If my grape-jelly ham-glaze ever becomes the highlight of my life, I will insert my head in the nearest gas oven.

    I shudder to think how many North American men would still prefer their women to be like these dingbats.

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