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Date Permissions Signed


Date of Award


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Leonard, Kevin Allen, 1964-

Second Advisor

Kennedy, Kathleen, 1963-

Third Advisor

Neem, Johann N.


At the height of the Cold War, films and books that focused on anticommunist themes used depictions of communism as a way to promote a certain understanding of the roles of men and women in the post-war United States. The end of World War Two caused a reconfiguration of American society, providing a context in which cultural productions, such as these anticommunist Cold War narratives, could provide competing interpretations for what this transformation of society meant for men and women's roles in the United States. These films and books collectively construct an ideology that idolized the family as the most important unit of American life. At the same time, they condemned men who focused on work life instead of the family, in particular expressing the view that modern society turns men in conformists and effeminizes them. In the case of women, these narratives praised strong women who were wives, but stigmatized unmarried women who showed independence. This response to the changes in post-war America was one of a range of responses, but an important one. By exploring the relationship between anticommunism and a critique of gender, we better understand the nature of the Cold War, and how it was focused not only on political battles but also cultural ones concerning gender roles.





Western Washington University

OCLC Number


Subject – LCSH

Cold War--Social aspects--United States; Cold War in literature--History--20th century; Cold War in motion pictures--History--20th century; Women--United States--History--20th century; Men--United States--History--20th century; Masculinity--United States; Femininity--United States

Geographic Coverage

United States




masters theses




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