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This essay discusses with regard to women during and consequent to the Second World War. The essay relates to a series of videos and interviews in an attempt to shed more light on the role of women during this period. By emphasizing the fact that women developed a strong connection with the military as a result of the conflict and because of their tendency to exploit the matter to their own advantage, the paper is meant to demonstrate that World War Two actually assisted women in removing many stereotypes and in society as a whole acknowledging that it was wrong for it to discriminate on account of gender.
In spite of the fact that society progressed significantly during the early twentieth century, women continued to be discriminated on account of their gender and it was difficult for many to refrain from using stereotypes when referring to them. However, the Second World War provided society with the ability to acknowledge the fact that women could actually play an important role in the conflict and that it was essential for people to change their perspective on gender roles. The present paper is directed at highlighting that war has actually had a positive impact on the image of women in the U.S. And in the world.
Women in the military during and after the Second World War
New Roles for Women in War, 1942, provides a whole new understanding about the role that women can play in a major conflict. This motion picture provides information concerning how the U.S. government has turned away from looking at women from a traditional point-of-view and has actually went as far as to design an Army Corps of two hundred and fifty thousand female individuals ready to serve their country. It is certainly impressive to observe how society had changed its understanding of the degree to which women could get involved in important matters such as warfare. The film actually emphasizes that women are essential during warfare: "Women as always, the heroes of all wars."
Most people are likely to consider the "Rosie the Riveter" poster when thinking about American women during the Second World War. A great deal of women actually got actively involved in assisting with war efforts as the conflict grew larger. "Everybody was shocked because we were not used to seeing women leave the house." (Cook 410) Even with this, not all women in the U.S. were the typical "Rosie the Riveter" individual. Some of them continued to be discriminated and women in the lower classes in particular came to contribute to war efforts by taking care of others and by raising families belonging to other individuals.
While New Roles for Women in War, 1942, promotes the idea that it is perfectly normal for women to play an active role during warfare, it is impossible for viewers to ignore the somewhat discriminatory message the film puts across. The fact that it relates to women as being "these traditional angels of mercy" somewhat provides viewers with the feeling that it is abnormal for women to get involved in doing jobs that are generally regarded as having a masculine nature.
Helen Hayes' conversation with William Bradford Huie provides a more complex understanding of the relationship between men and women during the 1950s. Even with the fact that Huie is apparently struggling to keep an open mind and to act as if it were perfectly normal for women and men to be provided with equal privileges, it is difficult for him to do so at times. The man concentrates on gaining a better comprehension of Hayes' involvement in recruiting women for the Armed Forces and wants to provide spectators with the opportunity to observe how individuals like Hayes are responsible for opening a series of doors to women in the U.S. In order for them to be able to start a career in the military without being discriminated as a result of their choice.
Hayes emphasizes that society had experienced much change consequent to the end of the Second World War and that this had a positive impact on women and on their role in the military. "There's practically no limitation short of actual combat for women now." She proceeds to strengthen her claims by relating to women who served during World War Two as she wants to demonstrate that there are actually women who are proficient in this line of work.
Hayes was obviously familiar with the fact that women were typically discriminated during the Second World War and consequent to it and wanted society to gain a better understanding regarding why such attitudes were wrong. "When the war ended and the telephone operators were no longer needed, the Army unceremoniously hustled the women home and refused to grant them official discharges, claiming that they had never officially been "in" the service." (Early Women Soldiers) The fact that many were reluctant to accept women as having been actively involved in the Second World War as a result of their 'unofficial' status during the conflict has had a negative influence on the self-esteem of many women who served during the era and for women in the U.S. In general. These people virtually accepted that it was going to take a lot of time until society would become ready to accept the fact that women were equal to men in a series of domains, including the military. It was not until 1979 that the women who worked for the military during the war were recognized for their services.
One of the main reasons why women wanted the government to acknowledge the fact that they were essential players in the country's military was the fact that they knew that the masses would then be inclined to change their attitude toward women in general. Such an act from the government would have emphasized the collective social identity present in the military. "Uniforms for women served as a highly visible marker of their fuller roles as citizens, an appreciation change from their previous exclusion or relegation to underpaid and little acknowledged wartime work." (Hacker & Vining 250)
The 1952 "The Girls are Marching Song" is impressive because of the inspiring message that it puts across. It appears that the song was designed to have people acknowledge that women are no different from men when considering their responsibilities. The song can actually be considered to be a strategy to get more and more women to join the military. It is very probable that many of the women who joined the military consequent to the Second World War did so because they realized the privileges they would get out of the exploit. Even though it might have been more difficult for them to advance rapidly in rank, it was nonetheless possible to occupy a significant position and to receive credit for doing so.
The U.S. government most likely realized that women were an asset when considering their involvement in the military system. As a consequence, it started a series of campaigns meant to reinforce the position of women as indispensable members of the Army Corps. "Gotta work, work like all the guys gotta do, do, do whatever duties to be done, serving at land, serving at sea and in the sky." This part of the song actually demonstrates that women were not different from men when concerning their role in the military. They could perform all sorts of missions that men performed, regardless of whether they involved working on land, at sea, or in the sky.
Songs like "The Girls are Marching Song" succeeded in destroying a of series misperceptions that people had with regard to women. It is only safe to claim that the involvement of women in the military made it possible for society to express lesser interest in gender differences and more interest in the idea of equality.
While women played an important role in helping with World War Two efforts, their involvement in the military during the conflict was temporary and it only occurred because the U.S. was in a critical condition. Furthermore, a great deal of the women who collaborated with the military during the war and in the years that followed were limited to performing desk jobs. Society preferred to believe that there were no differences between men and women, but it was very hard for people to abandon stereotypes.
Larry LaSueur's interview with Colonel Irene O. Galloway paints a succinct picture concerning reasons why women choose the military life and society's perspective concerning such attitudes. Galloway presents women soldiers as being typical military persons who prefer to be a part of the army rather than to be civilians. Some people actually return to the military consequent to several years spent as civilians as they realize that being in the army is more beneficial for them than…