authority can work. There were others, however, who were able to
covertly undermine their superiors by engaging in some fascinating
subversivebehaviours. Chapter 4 introduces the ‘subversive nurses’ in
this book, and seeks to explore their testimonies, to discover how some
nurses appeared to resist the powerful influences discussed above.
1 Ursula Vaughan, interviewed 12 February 2010. Parts of this chapter
have been recycled from Tommy Dickinson, Matt Cook, John Playle
and Christine Hallett, ‘Nurses and Subordination: A Historical Study of
: as an
independent organization they made their own rules and gave women opportunities for training, leadership, fun and adventure; however, once established
they worked within the system and did ‘play the game all through’. Unfortunately this game also included a return to more traditional gender relations
when the war was over.
In this way the FANY were groundbreaking in challenging the regulatory
norms of gender and by living unconventional lives and doing work often
coded as masculine. Through these subversivebehaviours they were able to
Race, culture and power in the Trinidad ‘Carnival Queen’ beauty competition, 1946–59
in kalinda as fighters has also been written out
of Carnival history.23
Meanwhile the Carnival performance of the ‘respectable’ classes
was largely transferred behind doors. The wealthy, conspicuous by their
absence from street masking, at least by day, poured scorn on Carnival
through the press, creating a gendered discourse of degeneration and dis
order around the black jamette Carnival. They reserved particular ire and
disapprobation for the behaviour of poor women at Carnival. Women’s
deliberately subversivebehaviour became, according to the Catholicoriented
engaged in subversive activities.
This might have sounded a severe sanction, but was yet again a
fudge. Not only did repatriation remain a virtual impossibility in 1941
(witness the problems with the French consular staff later that year),
but few Frenchmen were likely to be caught engaging in subversivebehaviour, especially given the way in which the colony remained a
community apart. Nor was there government consensus over the issue.
The Ministry of Labour feared Germany would exploit any gesture
towards conscription for propaganda purposes.265 After all, it was not