2012 | 2 | 113-133
Article title

Kobieta na amerykańsk im, angielsk im i australijsk im plakacie oraz ilustracji wojennej okresu pierwszej wojny światowej

Title variants
Women on the American, English and Australian Wartime Posters and Illustrations of World War I Period
Languages of publication
In the iconography connected with the war – predominantly a male occupation – a woman had a special significance. During World War I the place of women continued to be determined by: tradition, family, fixed roles and social and cultural norms. The spheres of private as well as social (professional, political) life of women and men remained separate. In the comprehensive policy a woman was a man’s background, except for not very popular belligerent suffragists, fighting for the rights and position of women. The woman barely entered the so-called male professions. Belief in the intellectual and physical weakness of women was the basis of determining the domain to which women had no access – i.e. especially policy and associated with it propaganda. A “weak” woman needed a man’s care and support, and this fact suited well for the war propaganda. The approach to women was changed during the war, as it was usual in such cases before. Women had to take over jobs abandoned by men. Military action, carried out using an increasing number of weapons, equipment, requiring a constant supply made it necessary to recruit women in positions left by men. Work had to become in this situation a manifestation of patriotic attitudes rather than a whim of women trying to emancipate. Even the ruling elites were interested in the change of common thinking. The war undoubtedly accelerated liberalization in the approach to the role of women, because the traditional social order had been heavily disturbed. Among the many features of the fair sex, the beauty became slowly a trump in the game led by agitators. Ethics and other features present in the female personal pattern were considered less important. Therefore on the posters of this period we can see a caring woman-sister, a woman-patriot urging a man to fight and enlist in the ranks of the armed, a woman knitting socks, collecting funds for military purposes, saving food, producing food and items needed at the front and in everyday life (in the gardens of the victory and factories), a woman-“conscience” calling for revenge and helping the victims of the war. We also have a woman as a unifying symbol of the nation, identifying society’s values, freedom, civilization (Columbia, Britain, Daughter of Zion). Woman from the poster and illustration represented a new canon of female beauty and thus attracted even more attention to the conveyed messages.
Physical description
Document Type
Publication order reference
YADDA identifier
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