Women of the Second World War

analytical Essay
940 words
940 words

By the start of the Second World War in 1939, women had proven themselves capable of more than just motherhood and housewifery. In the first three decades of the 20th century alone, they won the right to vote, sought higher education, joined the workforce, and held strikes to attain better working conditions. Time and time again, women have overcome adversity and shown their full capacity to the world. However, the world is often blind to reality and chooses what it wants to see. This was the unfortunate case for military women during World War II. Recruits for the Women’s Army Corps (WAC) were not respected as their male counterparts were. To many, their enthusiastic involvement in military work was an anomaly and threat to both men and gender norms. As such, they were treated not as humans, but as women, an inferior being who needed guidance, rules to abide by, and others to control the most intimate aspects of their lives.
The belief that women are the gentler, weaker sex is one that has been held since the dawn of time. Women have always been expected to live their lives as quietly and unobtrusively as possible. When the women’s branch of the army formed in May 1942 this already fragile belief began to crumble even more. In the years preceding the war, the scope of women in society was gradually beginning to expand. Women could now work outside the home and earn their own wages, albeit in still typically “feminine” jobs and for less money than men. But many saw the participation of women in the military as more than a threat to jobs. The army was now a threat to a woman’s sexuality. The public worried that by joining a workforce so undeniably masculine women would start to behave like men. Complaints that the army would turn...

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...the many accomplishments of women display the spectrum of their capabilities, society’s idealized view of them is too ingrained to change overnight. To this day women are too often seen as inferior objects that more sentient beings (men) must protect the purity of by any means necessary. In the military this was achieved in a wider range by officers who strictly limited the actions women took and the information they received. On a more intimate, but equally controlling level, female soldiers used homophobia and secrecy to gain freedom. Just as the women of today continue to do, women of the World War II era were born into and perpetuated a cruel and controlling world.

Works Cited

Meyer, Leisa D. “Creating G.I. Jane: The Regulation of Sexuality and Sexual Behavior in the Women’s Army Corps during World War II.” Feminist Studies 1992: 590, 595. Web. 08 Nov. 2013.

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that women were held as virtual criminals in guarded compounds in port moresby, new guinea, to protect them from african american men who had been stereotyped as dangerous rapists.
  • Explains meyer, leisa d., "creating g.i. jane: the regulation of sexuality and sexual behavior in the women's army corps during world war ii." feminist studies 1992: 590, 595.
  • Argues that women's involvement in the military was an anomaly and threat to both men and gender norms.
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