Has there ever been a golden age of baby sitting?
There really never has. Many parents continue to think that way back when, in the postwar years, girls were affable and also plentiful. But in fact that was not the case. Back in the 1950s, and even before that, during the war and during the Depression, girls complained about the working conditions and the ways in which they felt they were being treated unfairly by their employers.
To pop culture…
Why is the baby sitter such a common figure in those kind of slasher films?
Slasher films emerge in the 1970s, and it’s during the 1970s that feminism has really expanded and had a significant influence on teenage girls. They’re searching for greater freedom and greater economic empowerment and political and social and cultural empowerment. That’s true for women also, obviously.And the baby sitter — because she’s a wage earner, she’s leaving home, though of course she’s ambiguously going into somebody else’s home — she becomes an object for anxieties about these profound social changes having to do with women and liberation.
The maniac really turns into this male rage toward the ways in which society is changing. Men are losing their position of authority, and girls and women are gaining. It’s a way to contain girls by getting them frightened. And in fact it was very successful. These legends, whether they’re spread by word of mouth, or on the screen, lots of girls heard them and then they just stopped baby-sitting. They were too frightened. Or, if they did baby-sit, they talked on the phone the whole time so that the maniac couldn’t call.