AFterword
Soldiers’ Stories has described a trajectory from the rhetoric of
the Second World War, which inscribed military women as aux-
iliary, a temporary necessity of “total war,” to a contemporary
context in which scandal and intensive media interest frame
the military woman. In describing the shifting representation
of the military woman in popular film and television, the book
has moved across very different generic locations, from dramatic
war stories and romantic narratives of heroism to the comic and
musical performances which achieved box- office success during
the Second World War and which continued to showcase mili-
tary women in the postwar period. More recently, in the con-
text of a gender- integrated military and a wider media emphasis
on controversy and scandal, other genres have featured military
women as central and supporting characters: dramas using boot
camp scenarios or inadvertent adventures in combat to test mili-
tary women; action narratives in which women are an integrated
part of special units; rape- revenge narratives inscribing women
as victims and avengers; thrillers and legal and investigative fic-
tions which trade on the very isolation of military women estab-
lished in other genres. The broad generic shift detailed in this
book—from drama through comedy to crime- centered fictions—
is absolutely in line with wider media coverage which celebrates
military women and yet insistently frames them as provocative,
whether to military men and masculinity specifically or to deep-
seated ideas about gender identity, social status, and work. Rep-
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