"Amazons and Military Maids": An Examination of Female Military Heroines in British Literature and the Changing Construction of Gender

Title"Amazons and Military Maids": An Examination of Female Military Heroines in British Literature and the Changing Construction of Gender
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1987
AuthorsWheelwright, Julie
JournalWomen's Studies International Forum
Volume10
Issue5
Pagination489 - 502
Abstract

Women played an important role in the British military, performing a wide range of services until the mid-nineteenth century. In the eighteenth-century stories, songs and ballads about female soldiers enjoyed an enormous popularity and serve to challenge our contemporary notion that Florence Nightingale was the first woman to work in a modern combat situation. These stories, however, changed over time and by the nineteenth century had to be sanitized to conform to a more genteel and fixed concept of femininity. Gender had increasingly become identified as a biological entity rather than a social and external construction. This article explores how the female soldiers came to be regarded as aberrations of nature rather than slightly risqué heroines and military historians rewrote earlier armies into all-male institutions. [modified from author]

URLhttp://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0277539587900033
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