It’s a common occurrence that excessive, extremely sexualized femininity greatly disturbs the masculine sense of security, knowledge of the world and selfhood in film noir. America’s active involvement in the World War II brought fundamental as well as wide-reaching sociological changes in the country. With huge numbers of the masculine population drafted into the army and sent directly to Europe to fight, and the evident necessity for the expansion of the national economy to back up the war effort, surging numbers of American women went to work as part of their patriotic duty. That meant a definite shift away from the major role of the women as the home-maker, while the men fulfilled the role of economic provider, an obvious shift away from the traditional hierarchical structure of the American family, with the male at its head, and also a shift towards a society, where gender roles were somewhat subverted somewhat. It appeared to be a temporary confusion in regard to traditional views of sexual role as well as sexual identity.
For American males getting back to the country after the end of the war, and for American males in general, the given subversion of gender roles was coupled with the national economy suffering from post-war depression. The threat of high prices as well as unemployment along with the surging size of corporations, the unstoppable growth of monopolies, to say nothing of the accelerated elimination of small businesses, forcing folks to work for large companies rather than for themselves via industrialized dehumanization. As follows from this both the redefining of gender roles as well as the factor of working according to the objectives of someone else meant that the new masculine position in society appeared to be marked with alienation, paranoia as well as disillusionment, feelings, which were reflected within film noir.
The stronghold of masculine security and world knowledge, which had existed before the war appeared to be under threat, from a rapidly changing economic structure, and particularly from the revolutionary new American woman as well as her challenge to preconceptions of masculinity and femininity.
The attitudes toward females evidenced in film noir, so called fear of loss of identity, stability and security. These are reflective of the dominant feelings of that epoch.
Any movie reflects the concerns as well as anxieties of the time, where it was produced, so it’s no wonder that the American films noirs of the mid 1940s were focused on the changing role of females in American society after the war.
It’s a common occurrence that excessive, extremely sexualized femininity greatly disturbs the masculine sense of security, knowledge of the world and selfhood in film noir. America’s active involvement in the World War II brought fundamental as well as wide-reaching sociological changes in the country.