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This is one of my very favorite MST3K shorts. Its ideas about women seem repressive to us now, but given the attitudes of the time, it was actually fairly advanced. Careers and even higher education for women were still viewed with suspicion by many. As the narrator says, "College for Kay would mean sacrifices for Mom and Dad." I wouldn't have had a clue about the "five pound potty" line, but for a friend who was the right age and had grown up in the south. She explained that the term is actually "Five Pound PARTY" and it was a quaint tradition where a sort of bridal shower was held and the gifts were geared towards helping the bride set up her kitchen: five pounds of sugar, five pounds of flour, and so on. It was a simpler time... "Will she smoke thin black cigarettes and reject the triune god?" "Look at my crotch! Look at my crotch! Look, look, look at my crotch! YEAAAAA!" "I'm going to major in Foods and Nutrition." *Yeah, you'll be a short order cook for truckers in two years... *
This short is pretty darn funny all on its own when viewed today,
although the MST3k treatment definitely bumps it to a 10. This short
was never shown in theaters, but was shown at high schools to girls to
reveal possibilities for their lives (other than marrying the high
school quarterback and becoming Mrs. Dirk Squarejaw, housewife and
When you younger kids see this you might wonder how things could have been that bad for women less than 60 years ago. But the fact is, humans are an incredibly adaptive species. If you'd have told just about anybody in 1951 that a black man would be elected President of the U.S. in 2008, they'd have laughed their butt off. But here we are- Black President, and women Senators, astronauts, and race car drivers. Who'd a thunk it?
But back then, Home Economics was a woman's choice, until her husband ordered her to quit her job and stay at home (tee-hee). But look at it this way, modern humans have been around for at least a couple hundred thousand years, but in the last 100 years we've positively rocketed into the future. If you could bring somebody back who died in 1909 to the year 2009, they'd never even recognize the place, or understand how a woman could be a cop or plumber. Hell, back then women could only vote in 4 of 46 states!
But back to our short.......The high school girls are taught that learning to cook, sew, decorate, teach nursery school, etc., will prepare and qualify them for the most important job of being Mrs. Squarejaw. Maybe you could even be a nurse or fashion designer. If you showed this thing to modern high school girls they would never believe you were serious. They believe their tattoo artist is the only one that needs to know how to decorate. It may seem shocking to today's youth that wives in the 1950's didn't even have tramp stamps.
So, since those tough old birds that were married in the 1950's (and my Mom was one) paved the way for you young girls, you can now be judges, jet pilots, doctors and ice road truckers. Congratulations. Also, we have come far enough along to laugh at how things were for women in 1951. If you can, check the MST version of this short. It's on the episode that also features The Viking Women and the Sea Serpent.
If there's a hokey educational film out there, you can bet money that
"Mystery Science Theater 3000" has heckled it. Such is the case with
"The Home Economics Story". The point of this happy-go-lucky short is
basically that girls in fluffy dresses should take home econ so that
they can either get good jobs or become June Cleaver clones. Pretty
eye-rolling in an era when millions of grads are doomed to spend their
lives paying back student loans (assuming that they can find jobs).
Sure enough, the guys have a lot of fun tearing the short to shreds,
even mentioning Abbey Road in one scene. Basically, it was a very cruel
act to force the Satellite of Love crew to watch this, but they had fun
I wonder if anyone ever heckled these shorts when they first got shown back in the '50s.
She must have had a big breakfast (quick go to Starfighters and get the poopie suit) MST had fun with this short on how women can go to college, and still be subservient to men (but make themselves feel that they are doing something for themselves) Even though it is a big lengthy for a short it is perfect for MST to have fun with. I wonder though how people who grew up in this time feel about these shorts now!! Did any of these schools make films for women to do other things like become engineers, teachers, or other roles that men usually take. I'd hate to live back in this time even if this was all the norm in those days. And can somebody please explain what the hell the narrator means about the five pound potty!!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This 1950's propaganda about how women should be obedient servants to their husbands is quite dated and definitely doesn't stand up to the test of time. Iowa State College (now Iowa State University) was trying to recruit young women into going to their school and taking courses, probably to keep the male population happy. Everyone is lily white and the narrator is obscenely cheerful.
One of my first MST3K shorts I have seen on MST3K. "The Home Economics
Story" is basically propaganda to turn any clean cut girl into a Suzie
Homewife Barbie doll, as well as disguising itself to offering equal
Like said, I would hate to live in 1950s. Not much to do besides a giggly homewife with a house full of brats. *LOL*
Glad MST3K tackled this short. If did not, I would wretch.
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