'Khaki Fever' and Its Control: Gender, Class, Age and Sexual Morality on the British Homefront in the First World War

Title'Khaki Fever' and Its Control: Gender, Class, Age and Sexual Morality on the British Homefront in the First World War
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1994
AuthorsWoollacott, Angela
JournalJournal of Contemporary History
Volume29
Issue2
Pagination325-347
Date Published04/1994
Abstract

Excerpt in lieu of abstract:

In late 1914 an epidemic of khaki fever broke out across Britain. Young women, it seemed, were so attracted to men in military uniform that they behaved in immodest and even dangerous ways. The excitement which reportedly gripped young women at the sight of troops in towns, cities and near army camps was identified as sexual, and named 'khaki fever'. The discourse on khaki fever conducted by miltary and police authorities, feminists, other reformers and social commentators showed the first world war as a climactic time of concern about young women's social and sexual behaviour. Protest over young women's behaviour echoed previous concerns but were exacerbated by the excited atmosphere of the war and, in turn, sparked a movement to control the sexual behaviour of young women which became a feature of life on the homefront. ... An analysis of the discourse surrounding khaki fever reveals both continuities and disjunctions with the public debates on working-class women and sexuality in preceding decades. As a body of historical scholarship demonstrates, the last decades of the nineteenth and first decades of the twentieth centuries witnessed movements and legislation to control the sexuality of the poor in order to inculcate a middle-class moral order, to improve health and fitness, and to control VD and prostitution.

URLhttp://www.jstor.org/stable/260893
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936741394

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