The Unsettling Reason These 1950s Housewives Were Forced To Keep A Secret

"The Girl In The Green Dress"

Plenty of literary works have addressed the inescapable human emotion of feeling misunderstood or alone in one's particular troubles. It's a theme to which we all can relate. Some might even feel like they're the first person in the world to ever experience their respective source of pain — which can make a person feel lonelier yet.

But many historical records from the 1950s make it seem like troubles didn't even exist at that time — which is where the inspiration for a short film entitled "The Girl In The Green Dress" was born.

The film follows an ordinary woman (Ann) with all of the expected trappings of a 1950s housewife, who moves to a new town with her husband. 

The press release sets the scene:

Before Page comes into the picture, Ann is experiencing a common frustration that plagued far too many women throughout the 1950s. It was diagnosed as "The Problem That Has No Name."

This problem was brought upon by the romanticized notion of a cheerful housewife whose purpose in life was to conceive, birth and raise 2.5 children in front of a white picket fence. That aspirational lifestyle was marketed to women as their only option for happiness. 

filmmaker and star of the film, Leah McKendrick, studied this moment in history when she was in college and felt moved and saddened enough to continue exploring it on her own.

"Women were very dissatisfied and didn't know why, so they felt like there was something wrong with them," McKendrick told A Plus. "So our film is a twist on the American dream."   

Pictured above: McKendrick in her role as Page in her short film "The Girl In The Green Dress."
Pictured above: McKendrick in her role as Page in her short film "The Girl In The Green Dress."

McKendrick pointed out that this frustration still exists today. "When you're told you should want A, B or C, but you don't want that for yourself, society puts a lot of pressure on people to be happy 'the right way,'" she said.  

Throughout the film, Ann's fascination with Page intensifies. Both women seem to have an uncomfortable curiosity; an urge for something more than the lives they feel irreversibly trapped inside of.  The audience is then led to wonder if these women might be falling in love with each other. And, if they are, how would their rigid society respond if they carried out those urges?   

In a unique (perhaps even groundbreaking) way, this film underscores the value of feminism — and, as McKendrick puts it, "the freedom it allows to explore one's own identity."

Watch the trailer for this powerful short film here:

"The Girl In The Green Dress"

Written and Produced by Leah McKendrick and Sara Fletcher