The presences of women in the military sphere has been a feature of war photography since war was first recorded through photography in 1850 during the Crimea War (Cosgrove, B. 2014). However, the Spanish civil war (17 July 1936 – 1 April 1939) was the first to produce a body of images showcasing women joining the fighting ranks. The women fighters were manly Republican Sympathisers, who fought for the first 8 months of the civil war (Brothers, C. 2013. 1997).
However, there were no photographs of insurgent woman with fire arms, this could infer that women were still not seen as capable. This suggests very few enlisted in combat, if they did, kept clear of photographers. LE Matin image taken in 1936 during the Spanish civil war dipcting six uniformed woman from the section of Fralange, with boy scouts and armed nationalist solder for protection (Brothers, C. 2013. 1997). Portraying the women still need protection by men, The photographs helping to reinforce the diluting their role, through portraying them to be inferior to male counterparts.
During the Spanish civil war (17 July 1936 – 1 April 1939) photographs of men were portrayed with the age-old warrior myths to convey the desired propaganda message, that the male fighters were strong a powerful heroes (image put here) (Brothers, C. 2013. 1997). However, the same can’t be said about the representation of the female fighters, as they did not receive the same heroic architypes. Women who took arms during the Spanish civil war were shown to play traditional female roles, like that of care givers in the form of being nurses and looking after children or as suffering victims of war, as not equipped with the (masculine) traits to take part in combat roles.
Positive representation of the women at arms where only publicised when the women could exhibit the qualities of the male warrior architype, or provide novel pleasure based on their appeal to men, through the heterosexual eye of the male gaze (Brothers, C. 2013. 1997). Photographs produced of the Spanish warrior women used sex-role stereotyping. Photographs of woman that joined the fighting ranks in Spain exposed the ongoing struggle over women’s roles and status in Britain and Frances during the Spanish Civil war from 17 July 1936 – 1 April 1939.
In France and Britain, the images signified their deep-felt unease of acceptable conduct for woman and the effect on societies when traditional behaviour patterns are broken down under the impact of war, in the instance of the Spanish civil war through the ‘abnormal’ unfeminine behaviour of the female fighters on society, that my effect the individual country as well as internationally. (Brothers, C. 2013. 1997). This point can also be illustrated through British women’s changed role during ww2 as men were at war, women replaced them in the workforce, manual jobs which women before the majority of women did not partake, instead where primarily housewives. However, During the Second World War many women worked in factories, often doing quite dangerous and labour-intensive work, for example, making bombs and aircraft. It could be said that this gave many a sense of purpose outside of the home, however after the war, this ended and many women had to go back to being housewives.
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