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The Second Line of DefenseAmerican Women and World War I$
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Lynn Dumenil

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781469631219

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469631219.001.0001

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Visual Representations of Women in Popular Culture

Visual Representations of Women in Popular Culture

(p.204) Five Visual Representations of Women in Popular Culture
The Second Line of Defense

Lynn Dumenil

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter on popular culture visual representations of women focuses on posters and photographs, but primarily on film images of American women. Representations of traditional womanhood were quite evident in the war years, but so too were images of modern women, who while feminine, were also independent and resourceful. They appear in photographs in the workplace doing men’s work or in uniform marching in patriotic parades. In films, they spurred men to enlist and foiled the plots of enemy agents by extraordinary feats of physical daring and courage. Their agency offers a striking contrast to the notion of women as objects in need of masculine protection. These images stimulated the roiling debate in pre-war American over the “new woman” and contributed to a popular sense of the war being a dividing line that heralded the new woman of the postwar era.

Keywords:   visual representation, popular culture, posters, photographs, films, parades, uniforms, new woman

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