'Who's the Boss?' A Textbook Guide to Surviving Your Hellish 1950s Marriage

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A husband and wife fight over the wife's decision to keep her job and her name in this short film produced by McGraw-Hill in 1950. The short, courtesy of the Prelinger Archive, is based on Marriage for Moderns, a textbook published by the company.

Their introductory internal monologues are an amazing study in the sexism and gender wars of the era. "I'm as good as he is. I've got a brain of my own and I intend to make the most of my life, too," she growls, "Yes, I want a home and kids, but I'm not going to be a fool like Mother, bending over a washtub all her life while Dad went around as free as air." Meanwhile her spouse groans, "Where do women get the idea that they wear the pants? Must be her diploma." Later, the husband grudgingly agrees to evolve, with mixed success. 

For more films from the Prelinger Archive, visit http://www.archive.org/details/prelinger.

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Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg is the executive producer for video at The AtlanticMore

Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg's work in media spans documentary television, advertising, and print. As a producer in the Viewer Created Content division of Al Gore's Current TV, she acquired and produced short documentaries by independent filmmakers around the world. Post-Current, she worked as a producer and strategist at Urgent Content, developing consumer-created and branded nonfiction campaigns for clients including Cisco, Ford, and GOOD Magazine. She studied filmmaking and digital media at Harvard University, where she was co-creator and editor in chief of H BOMB Magazine.

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