While wartime films did open up passage of gender exploration for both film-makers and audiences, the war itself meant that the discourse could not be as radical or far-reaching as some might have hoped. For the sake of both national … Continue reading
The question of female identity inevitably encouraged both film-makers and audiences to explore ideas of masculinity, in particular the relationship between heroism and men in non-combatant roles. If men had to fight to prove their masculinity, what did that mean … Continue reading
A crucial concern of the wartime discourse on gender was that of duty versus desire, explored in the melodramas and Brief Encounter. L. K. Gordon of Leicester wrote to the Leicester Evening Mail in 1943 stating that ‘the war had … Continue reading
The anxious discourse on female mobilisation during the war also concerned the perceived necessity of protecting the femininity of these women. Gender distinctions rest largely on appearance, thus “these trouser-clad androgynies destabilised the polarisation upon which gendered identity normally rested”. … Continue reading
Categories of social difference are identified by how they juxtapose each other. Women are women because they are not men; masculine is masculine because it is not feminine. Gender is perceived in binary terms and this relationship is highlighted in … Continue reading
To celebrate the 87th Academy Awards, here is a complete list of every woman who has taken home the Oscar for Leading Actress over the years. Katharine Hepburn holds the record for this category, having taken home four Academy Awards for Leading Actress … Continue reading
This year marks the centennial of the First World War: an epic, transformative global conflict that lasted just over four years and claimed the lives of seventeen million soldiers and civilians. Today, there are no living survivors of the Great War; we must rely solely on collective memory to understand what happened amid the blood and the mud, the writing and the waiting, one hundred years ago.
There is, of course, an inherent problem with this. The British remember the war in a particular way; as, indeed, every country involved does. For us, the war was futile, horrific, catastrophic – a war of ‘lions led by donkeys’ – that stripped our country of its bravest and brightest. Interestingly, this was not the common belief in the immediate aftermath of the war; this idea only really gained traction during the economic slump of the 1920s. But despite this fact, and even in the face of a recent boom in scholarship around the First World War, there has been little impact on popular remembrance. The war is still understood in Britain as the ‘bad war’ – especially in contrast to its successor – and this over-arching narrative is emphasised and promulgated by popular culture.