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Women of warGender, modernity and the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry$
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Juliette Pattinson

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781526145659

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.7765/9781526145666

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‘Hussies’, ‘freaks’ and ‘lady soldiers’: Constructing the uniformed woman

‘Hussies’, ‘freaks’ and ‘lady soldiers’: Constructing the uniformed woman

(p.78) 2 ‘Hussies’, ‘freaks’ and ‘lady soldiers’: Constructing the uniformed woman
Women of war

Juliette Pattinson

Manchester University Press

The uniformed woman has widely been seen as an emblem of modernity. By utilising both public and personal accounts, this chapter discusses external perceptions of the FANY and also self-representations, in order to examine the uniformed woman as an emblem of modernity. It considers how members negotiated the public’s voyeuristic fascination with their activities as well as the hostile reactions they encountered, and examines how they navigated existing discourses of gender and class to forge a space for themselves in the public domain wearing masculine-inflected clothing. This chapter examines debates over the FANY’s public representation and sartorial choices both before and during the war, and by doing so contributes to understandings of how martial dress was appropriated by an elite group of women and with what consequences. As such, this chapter demonstrates how members of the first women’s corps to adopt military uniform manoeuvred themselves from being dismissed as ‘hussies’ and ‘freaks’ into a position where they undertook national service as ‘lady soldiers’.

Keywords:   uniform, khaki, gender anxieties

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