Woman as consumer & victim in WWI


Women work in warThis week in Gender Roles in Wartime and Peacetime, we discussed the effects of World War I on the home front. Let’s extend our discussion in the blogosphere.

Below are several discussion questions students in the class submitted for this week’s readings. Post your comments to one or more below.

  1. According to Davis’s article, does the WWI German society ultimately view the “poor woman consumer” as a victim, a hero, or the cause of the food shortage problems? – from Laura
  2. In the Davis article, the author states, “The public believed that by late 1915 poor women were suffering as keenly from the privations of the economic war as they were from the effects of the hostilities on the battlefront” (289). Starvation has a possible outcome of death. Even though women were not fighting, they still were in a life threatening situation. Could that be compared with the battlefront? If so, what is the comparison? – from Kendra
  3. On page 186 of “Child of the Barbarian,” it says, “Rather these stories (of rape) more often stressed the relations between men, with rapes recounted as though they were designed to humiliate husbands unable to defend their homes.” This issue was seen as more of an attack on France than as a human rights issue. Why do you think this was? – from Jill
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2 Responses

  1. I found your blog on google and read a few of your other posts. I just added you to my Google News Reader. Keep up the good work. Look forward to reading more from you in the future.

    Jason Whitmen

  2. With regards to Kendra’s question, I think it would be difficult to compare a woman’s plight on the homefront to a man’s service on the battlefield. This isn’t to say that either group was having an easy time. However, their struggles were so different, that it strikes me as an issue of comparing apples and oranges. Women may have feared starvation, but they had less to worry about in terms of personal safety, violence, and shelter. Men, on the other hand, had to deal with the emotional stresses of war, the physical dangers, and still try to appear brave and strong. While both of these groups faced difficult times, I wouldn’t call their sufferings comparable, simply because the threats they faced were so different.

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