I came across this video today, entitled "Women Working in the Big City in the 1930s"; produced in the 1930s and discussing what it's like for women of the day to try to move to the big city, get a job, and work there.

It starts off really positive, with a listing of successful women executives of the times (seriously, I was trying to jot down names as fast as possible to go Google these women later, they sound pretty awesome) and then slowly breaks down into how difficult it actually is for the average woman to actually make it in the city.

And from there, it starts sounding WAY too familiar. As someone that packed up a single suitcase after college and headed to NYC to try to get a job right smack in the middle of the recession, I felt like outside of their far more adorable hats, these girls and I were kindred souls nearly a century apart. Can't find a reasonable place to live on your salary? There to find a job but all the stuff listed is pretty much bogus? Scams and predatory listings abound? 10 girls at least for every 1 position? Adjust everything for population increases and inflation and throw in Craigslist, and it's left me feeling like not so much has changed since the 1930s. One man actually sits down towards the end and tells women - unless you have enough money to live in the city for a year without a job, stay home.


I'm sure a good portion of this has to do with the difficulty of the economy, both then and now - I wish there was a similar video for men on "working in the big city". But the fact that there isn't a tells me a lot of about the difference in attitude towards genders. This seems specifically to be targeted to women to frighten them with the terrible realities so that they don't even try. This was the 1930s - there wasn't TV at this point, so this video would have likely been played here? Movie reels? Are the little girls sitting in a movie theatre in the 30s watching this internalizing this and growing up to be the housewives of the 1950s? The recession now is supposed to be disproportionately affecting men (although I'm not sure I completely buy that)... is that somehow indicative of gender progress? Should we make a video for our gentlemen friends letting them know it's just too hard out there in the big city and they should just stay home? Maybe see if we can start buying 10 cent dances from them?