Pillow Talk Gender Roles

Since the 1950s release of the film Pillow Talk, the role of women in society has evolved. During the 1950s and before, women were perceived to only be able to carry out domestic roles (housekeeping and motherly duties). Now society is more aware that women are capable of much more than household duties and can perform the same jobs as men. Due to this old misconception about what a woman could achieve, there was a strong push for a woman to simply get married and have babies. Baby making was the ultimate goal during the baby boom in America. While being fertile and reproducing has always played a role throughout the ages, it is emphasized and tremendously in Pillow Talk.

During the beginning of Pillow Talk audiences quickly learn that Jan Marrow (the leading lady played by Dorris Day) is a headstrong and determined woman who does not need a man. This makes Jan stick out, as she is at a prime baby making stage in her life. A reoccurring dilemma that is introduce in the movie declares that if Jan waits much longer to settle down, she will not be able to find a proper mate. Jan is constantly pushed to find a nice husband and have kids, as having kids is seen to be a woman’s main role in life. In fact when Jan tries to obtain a private phone line, because of friction between the man she shares her line with and herself, a manager for the phone company explains that only an emergency would permit her to gain a personal line. One such emergency is being pregnant. This examples furthers the preconceived idea of the period that women are to strictly be in a motherly position and if the follow their societal role they will be rewarded (ie. receive quick installation of a private line).

A more humorous example that explores the role of genders appears when Brad (played by Rock Hudson) accidentally makes a gynecologist believe that he is pregnant. The doctor is baffled and wishes to study Brad. The reason doctor is so intrigued to study Bard, while it may come across as obvious, is because men cannot get pregnant. Men are (according to this time anyway) supposed to be strong and wild spirits that are to be tamed by women. The roles of men were to performed outside the house and they were not expected to tend to familial duties. The concept of a man having a child is so absurd to audiences and the doctor in the movie, which cements the idea of set gender roles in society. Men work and women have babies.

While Pillow Talk is a comedy, the movie explains a great deal about gender roles in the 1950s. One of the most significant points that I found troubling was that women were to bend to their instinct to have children. The movie end with Jan falling in love with Brad and having his baby. It is sad that all the hard work Jan worked for in her career falls to societal pressure for her to be a wife and mother.


One thought on “Pillow Talk Gender Roles

  1. Cameron did a good job by giving two great examples of the pregnancies from the Pillow Talk. He analyzed the two examples with his own thinkings that I have never thought of. Moreover, he did a great job by introducing the story a little bit and going right into his thinkings. However, he should proofread his writing again because he spelled Brad wrong in some place. Also it is unnecessary to introduce the actor Jan in parenthesis because we are assuming that we have all watched the movie.


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