The Mystery That Is
The Dodge La Femme
Unveiled in 1955, the Dodge La Femme was Dodge's appeal to the female driver of the late 1950's. Although some authors and "experts" in the past have elected to point at Dodge's introduction of the La Femme with derision and ridicule, this model certainly does not deserve that type of treatment. In order to gain a full understanding of what the Dodge La Femme was all about, it's probably best that we look at World War II as the catalyst that brought about this fine looking automobile.
Prior to World War II, the vast majority of American females, upon the acceptance of marriage into their lives, became what is known as a "housewife" and abandoning the successful careers that they had prior to marriage. Without getting into a discussion over the positives or negatives of this term, that was the situation for a vast majority of women in the late 1940's.
However, with the advent of World War II, suddenly women became a vital part of the workforce in America. With many of the working men in this country away in Europe or the Pacific Theater, the task of continuing business on the home front fell squarely on these women's shoulders. The need was there, and it was met. However, from this period of "Rosie the Riveter", a new sense of independence in the American woman emerged. No longer were women simply relegated to secretaries and operators, they could now hold their own against men on any of a number of jobs. With this new independence in the workplace came a greater need for independence on the open road.
Shortly after World War II (and the Korean War) America entered a new era of prosperity and success. The days of one car families were fast becoming obsolete and families were now buying second cars to accomodate their new lifestyles. Suburbs were springing up outside urban areas and super highways were the wave of the future. The days of the corner grocery store were fading into the past, replaced by colossal supermarkets and shopping malls, where "one stop" shopping could be acheived with ease. Suddenly, living in the suburbs was what many Americans clamored for, the only problem was a lack of transportation. When Junior needed new shoes, there had to be a way to get from the suburbs to the city or to the local shopping center. With the advent of super highways, people could now travel longer distances in shorter amounts of time. All at once, cars suddenly went from luxury to necessity, from one car families to two car families.
Living in the suburbs meant the breadwinner had to drive to work downtown each day, leaving the housewife without a car. With the current prosperity being experienced in America, it seemed natural to go out and buy a second car for the wifer. But what car to buy?
These changes in America were, no doubt, noticed by Dodge management. They knew that more families were becoming two car families and they wanted to get their piece of the action before the competition had it all sewn up. They also calculated that many of these cars were going to be driven by women. Gone were the days of "the wife" borrowing the car for the day. Gone were the days of "the wife" simply staying at home. If "the wife" was getting a new car, then Dodge needed to produce a car that "the wife" would want to be seen in.
What better car could promote new found female independence and prosperity than the Dodge La Femme?