This article provides an analysis of a range literary texts and memoirs written by, and about, women who served as nurses, VADs, and ambulance drivers on the Western Front. It explores how these texts represent “feminine” identity in relation to the war’s emotional and physical trauma and focuses, in particular, on moments where conventional notions are challenged, or made impossible, by the war’s chaos. In addition, this article explores how these women understood, articulated, and represented the men they sought to aid. Fundamental to this discussion is an exploration of the period’s propaganda and iconography and how these women writers attempted to negotiate an intelligible identity in relation to it. The article’s primary aim is to expose, and navigate, some of the complex sites of ideological battle within Britain during the First World War. In doing so, I hope to demonstrate the complexity, ambiguity, and flexibility of both “femininity” and “masculinity” in the context of dramatic social change.
‘The Rose of No Man’s Land [?]’: Femininity, Female Identity, and Women on the Western Front.
Journal of International Women's Studies, 13(6), 5-17.
Available at: http://vc.bridgew.edu/jiws/vol13/iss6/2