Academic journal article Military Review

VICTORY GIRLS, KHAKI-WACKIES, AND PATRIOTUTES the Regulation of Female Sexuality during World War II

Academic journal article Military Review

VICTORY GIRLS, KHAKI-WACKIES, AND PATRIOTUTES the Regulation of Female Sexuality during World War II

Article excerpt

VICTORY GIRLS, KHAKI-WACKIES, AND PATRIOTUTES The Regulation of Female Sexuality During World War II, Marilyn E. Hegarty, New York University Press, 2008, 250 pages, $45.00.

In Victory Girls, Khaki-Wackies, and Patriotutes, historian Marilyn Hegarty offers a fresh perspective on the construction of gender roles during wartime by examining the experience of women who performed morale-maintaining, or as she terms them, "sexualized services" during World War II. Hegarty's subject is Rosie the Riveter's more disconcerting counterpart, the "patriotute," as she was labeled by a prominent public health official. Just as there existed a generalized cultural anxiety that the women who worked at munitions factories and joined the Women's Army Corps would become overly masculine, so too the military establishment and the culture at large worried that women who traded on their sex appeal in morale-boosting roles might become overly promiscuous. These women were viewed as at once necessary to the war effort and potentially detrimental to it, as they posed a threat to the health and fighting ability of our troops through the spread of sexually transmitted disease.

The armed services' need for a morale-boosting program dovetailed with a more general public campaign to repress prostitution in order to maintain national health by controlling the spread of sexually transmitted disease in the wartime state. In this climate the civilian women who volunteered to attend dances and other organized recreational activities at military bases, or those who worked in the service industries that supported military facilities, found themselves in a precarious and suspect position. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.