Femmes et films de guerre en Grande-Bretagne (1939-1945) : signes d’émancipation ou cas de manipulation ?

TitleFemmes et films de guerre en Grande-Bretagne (1939-1945) : signes d’émancipation ou cas de manipulation ?
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2006
Authorsde Cacqueray, Elizabeth
JournalRevue LISA
Date Published09/2006

This article analyzes the representation of women in a certain number of filmic texts released in Great Britain between 1939 and 1945: more particularly, Fires Were Started, Millions Like Us and Went the Day Well? The innovative roles these films offer to women led the author to interrogate whether the representation corresponded to a reflection of a genuine situation at the time or whether it was the result of a manipulation of the image of women in the interests of propaganda. The author compares the filmic texts to a well-known Women’s Auxiliary Air Force recruitment poster, an example of direct propaganda, and to women’s personal accounts of their war-time experiences. Similarities in method between the poster and the films emerge which underline the propaganda slant of the films. Certain aspects of the women’s accounts confirm the representation of women provided by the films, thus supporting the theory whereby the films reflect the relatively emancipating effects of the war for women. However, the examination of these accounts also reveals the extent to which the films omit certain aspects of women’s war experiences, including the sometimes negative attitudes of men towards women in the work place and the trauma for mothers around the evacuation of their children. The propaganda slant of the films was thus as much due to what they failed to mention as it was due to the image of women which reaches the screen.

Translated TitleWomen and War Films in Great Britain (1939-1945): Signs of Emancipation or Cases of Manipulation?
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