Juliette Pattinson
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‘Hussies’, ‘freaks’ and ‘lady soldiers’
Constructing the uniformed woman
in Women of war
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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’.

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Women of war

Gender, modernity and the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry


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