Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Wasp Woman

"The Wasp Woman", that I watched last night on YouTube, is a 1959 film produced and directed by the famed Roger Corman, and has many features of interest for those outside the normal run of horror-film watchers.

I won't talk of "The Wasp Woman"s plot, except to say that it's about a scheme by a cosmetics corporation to enable its middle-aged and elderly women customers to look like the beautiful and desirable twenty-somethings they once were, through having them injected with enzymes from wasps.

My saying more would only vitiate the excitement and the raw and visceral horror I know you'll experience if you watch "The Wasp Woman".

"The Wasp Woman" will be of additional interest if you are a social historian. This is because the main character, Janice Starlin, is a forty-something single woman who is the boss of her own cosmetics corporation, whose yearly sales run into the many tens of millions of dollars. It's a large corporation.

That it's a large corporation isn't at first sight noteworthy. But, that it's a large corporation run by a woman certainly is, particularly if you remember that this was 1959, when corporations were owned and run almost exclusively by men. And the men below them had all the important jobs. Women of course also worked in large corporations then, but they were in the typing pool.

In 1959 if you were a forty-something woman, and single, it was because you hadn't been able to attract a man sufficiently for him to ask you or your father, for your hand in marriage. This was usually because you weren't beautiful enough. Or if you weren't beautiful enough, you didn't have the pleasing personality to more than made up for you not being beautiful enough.

However, the thing about Janice Starlin is that, despite being forty-something and single, she's still somewhat beautiful, and certainly would have been beautiful enough by far when young, to sufficiently have attracted a man, or indeed many men, to ask her or her father for her hand in marriage.

Why, then, was she still single? Was it because, being a corporate boss, she had a personality so forceful, that it frightened off men from asking her or her father, for her hand in marriage? You must remember that young women in 1959 were expected act coy and demure. If they didn't, well, this was enough to consign them to permanent spinsterhood, even if they were beautiful.

Also of interest for the social historian, is how the staff of Janice Starlin's corporation acted when at work. Everyone smoked in the office, or at least all the men did. This was how it actually was in all corporate offices in those days.

Some of the men in Janice Starlin's corporation acted towards, and said things to the women in the typing pool, that today would cause them to be called on the carpet. For men to act this way was simply the done thing in corporate life then.

Anything else? Oh yes, Janice Starlin wears blacked-rimmed glasses of a shape and style that is today current. Odd, that.

I hope all this has sufficiently whetted your interest in "The Wasp Woman" for you to *click here* and enjoy it as much as did I.

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