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“All That Is Best Of The Modern Woman”? Representations Of Female Military Auxiliaries In British Popular Culture, 1914–1919

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Chapter Summary

In Britain during the First World War, members of the female auxiliary corps became the focus of a propaganda battle in popular culture. This chapter examines the conflicting representations of female military auxiliaries in wartime popular culture. It focuses on visual and written portrayals published in newspapers and popular magazines and displayed on picture postcards and recruiting posters, and considers the auxiliaries? military parades and the responses of the public to these spectacles. The chapter then explores the main groups who represented military women, their agendas, and the prewar sources of the symbolic forms and languages which they utilised. It traces the competition of the rival images and discourses which portrayed martial women. Finally, the chapter argues that the wartime propaganda battle ended in victory for supporters of the corps because their use of modern military discourses was in tune with the dominant definitions of these concepts at the time.

Keywords: British popular culture; conflicting representations; female military auxiliaries; First World War; military parades; military women; modern military discourses; wartime popular culture; wartime propaganda battle



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