Home Economics Story, The (1951)
“Four years in the lives of four home economics students at Iowa State University.”
This swell little educational video was once the subject of a Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode.
MST3K – The Home Economics Story
From the episode Viking Women vs. the Sea Serpent.
Crow – Trace Beaulieu
Joel Robinson – Joel Hodgson
Servo – Kevin Murphy
© 1991 Best Brains, Inc.
Why Study Home Economics? (1955)
This fine film attempts to cloak fifties “happy homemaker” stereotyping in the mantle of science. It opens as Janice and Carol, two sisters, try to decide which classes they want to attend next semester. Janice remarks that she wants to take some courses in Home Ec, to which Carol is aghast. “Home Economics?” she scoffs. “Why in the world do you want to take Home Economics?” Janice is not easily dissuaded, and replies “Why? Because that’s something I’m gonna need to KNOW. If I’m gonna be a homemaker the rest of my life, I want to know what I’m doing!”
To confirm her point of view, Janice visits “Miss Jenkins,” her Home Ec teacher, who explains that Home Economics isn’t just baking and sewing; it teaches “the fundamental principals of food buying” and “the psychology of clothing.” “Present-day textiles cannot be judged with confidence just by casual examination,” Miss Jenkins cautions, as we see shots of girls peering through microscopes and stretching cloth swatches on a mechanical rack. If Janice decides not to get married (“at least, not right away” Miss Jenkins chuckles) she can apply her Home Ec training to college courses such as chemistry and bacteriology, or so this film insists.
“Home economics training teaches ways of developing democratic practices within the home,” Miss Jenkins adds, patriotically, but she doesn’t have to say any more to convince Janice. “Anyone who’s going to be married and a homemaker would be foolish NOT to take Home Economics!”
Why Study Home Economics (clip)
Includes sociological research in comments.