Projections: Women in the Workplace

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

We take a look at how women in the workplace have been portrayed on film in our latest installment of our Projections series. We’ll be joined by film critic and historian Molly Haskell and by author and academic Barbara Ehrenreich. The three films we'll be discussing are:
"Woman of the Year" (1942)
"Babyface" (1933)
"9 to 5" (1980)


Barbara Ehrenreich and Molly Haskell

Comments [8]

David Hume from Staten Island, NY

Clock Watchers is a really great film with four women in the workplace. I think it was written and directed by a woman also. Very underrated.

Another cool show Leonard.

Jul. 21 2009 02:00 PM
Sherman from Manhattan

I can't believe that none of you even mentioned "Norma Rae."

Jul. 21 2009 01:58 PM
steve m from jersey city

it's good that haskell pointed out hepburn's complicity regarding her character being brought to heel (so to speak) in "woman of the year". she'd already had "the philadelphia story" written for her by philip barry as part of what she saw as a reclamation of her public image. a big part of that was her understanding that for a lot of regular folks, there was something vaguely threatening about her rather conspicuous independence and brains. what a sad comedown the end of "woman of the year" is for her. just a few years earlier her anarchic brilliance and gorgeousness were the saving grace for stuffy intellectual cary grant in "bringing up baby". of course that film was a notorious flop.

Jul. 21 2009 01:53 PM

How come "Working Girl" is not included.

Jul. 21 2009 01:48 PM

Or maybe the lesson from the movies is that women in their 20s shouldn't have impossible standards for men. Because when you get older, you get more desperate since they want to have kids.

Jul. 21 2009 01:46 PM
Amy from Manhattan

The description of Katharine Hepburn's character reminds me of Candice Bergen's Murphy Brown, who also had no idea what to do w/a baby (although she wouldn't have left him home by himself!) & whose cooking skills were described w/the wonderful line that she "uses the smoke alarm as a cooking timer"!

Jul. 21 2009 01:46 PM
Amy from Manhattan

Well, of course there weren't films about men sleeping their way to the top--in those days, there weren't enough women who could promote them to higher positions, & fewer the closer they got to the top! The only way a man could sleep his way to the top would've been with other men, & movies of the time would never have shown that!

Jul. 21 2009 01:40 PM
Alysia from brooklyn

I recently rewatched "9 to 5." The 1980 movie is hilariously dated in so many ways-- from the ruffled blouses corporate women used to wear to the massive copy machine.

But there was one thing that struck me as very sad. When the lead characters take over operations from their sexist-bigot boss they institute job sharing and in-house childcare. 19 years after "9 to 5" came out, these goals are STILL not realized and today many working mothers are forced into freelancer roles with no benefits or security, a situation far worse than imagined by the movie writers.

Jul. 21 2009 10:38 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.