Pressures of Pregnancy

In the movie Pillow Talk, pregnancy, as well as gender stereotypes and the emphasis on gender roles, are mentioned ad nauseam throughout the movie. Pregnancy plays a very large role in the plot of the movie as well. Pregnancy provides a lot of pressure to both our main characters, Jan and Brad, with the pressure on them to marry and start a life together, maybe initially they did not intent to be with each other, but getting married and starting a family was definitely a very important goal for the both of them. Maybe, without this pressure, both Jan and Brad would have never interacted other than over their party line, but fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, Jan and Brad do end up together in the end.

Very early on in the movie, pregnancy is mentioned to our main character, Jan Marrow, as a way to get a personal phone line to get away from the “sex-maniac” Brad, who she shares a party line with. Jan’s interaction with the phone company already creates a pressure to marry and start a family. The pressure Jan feels after this could have been a factor of why Jan falls for the fine gentleman that Rex seemed to be. Perhaps, without the pressure to start a family, Jan would have been more hesitant to continue dating a man she knows absolutely nothing more about other than the fact that he’s from Texas. Brad is also pressured early on in the movie to start a family by his old friend Jonathan, who ironically was the first to start chasing Jan before Brad’s whole charade with “Rex”. Jonathan tells Brad, after Brad made fun of him for being married so many times, that Brad should finally look to settle down while insinuating a lonely death for Brad at the same time. Perhaps Brad, without this pressure to get married, wouldn’t have sought after Jan and would have continued his life as a bachelor.

However, these pressures always illicit the conventional gender roles that were so prevalent during the 1950’s and 60’s, when the movie was filmed. Jan, even though she is a very successful home decorator, she is still pressured by society to have children and be the homemaker, when she could be potentially doing much more without children or married. She is pressured only caring about who she is in “love” with and it became a main concern for her, even having her drunken housemaid telling her to get married soon. Jan is very accomplished as an interior decorator, why would she suddenly want to give all that up just to have kids and be a homemaker? Brad, even though he clearly enjoys being a bachelor and enjoying his wealth, was pressured into becoming a dad, bringing home the ‘bacon’ and ‘growing up’ from chasing women on a day-to-day basis. If the gender roles of the movie were not so enforced, maybe Jan and Brad would have never met in person and started a relationship. Perhaps Jan would have become the best interior decorator of New York. Maybe Brad would have lived a happy life being a bachelor. However, we will never know.

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One thought on “Pressures of Pregnancy

  1. I enjoyed reading this post as it provides a very different take on the central aspect of the story. You have looked at pregnancy and how it is used to refer to the prevalent gender roles at the time. I loved the idea that the two main characters, Brad and Jan, if it weren’t for the pressures of pregnancy. I thought this was a very original take on the story! The only thing I would change here would be to give the reader a little background to the plot.

    Like

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