Women in War Propaganda

I know we talked about war propaganda the first week of class, but I kept thinking about how the war was advertised. I fell down a whole of war posters and just wanted to share them.

What I was really interested in was the range of ways that women were depicted within these posters. They go from being a damsel in distress that needs to be saved:


To strong women who would fulfill the roles of the men until the war was over:


To women as nurses in posters recruiting for the Red Cross (which to me, the women in these pictures look both very angelic and in the first one, very motherly) :

To the range of ways they are presenting in posters for war bonds, as mothers, wives, and daughters and also in the conservation posters back at home:

I found a website that has different categories of propaganda here and really enjoyed looking through it. I just really liked being able to see the variety of ways that women were portrayed, both hyperfeminine in some cases and in others more masculine, and the varying techniques to try to gain support for the war both on the war front with pushing men to serve for the sake of their families, the women, and the children, to the home front and the supportive wife and family, back home waiting for their men to return from the fighting.

352 thoughts on “Women in War Propaganda

  1. This really reminds me that roles for women during wartime were multifaceted. There wasn’t simply women at home serving one function: instead, they were driving ambulances near the front, helping wartime industry, rationing, helping to keep their families/economies together, and so much more.

  2. Your post really caught my attention because I feel like a lot of war time dialogue centers around the roles of men, and it does not always cover the extent to which women were impacted. Even as seen in the propaganda, the level of attention paid to women was more on the surface level side. Women were generalized into certain roles- whether it be the brave individual who’s willing to step up and fight when men won’t, to being the fragile being who needs to be protected, and the list goes on. I feel looking at the propaganda is interesting because it shows how women were used to promote the war, but now how they were affected by it.

  3. I also think in terms of literature this is super interesting. In my high school we really only ever talked about WW1 from the perspective of men. We talked about the fighting, the injuries, and the logistics, but never really about the roles of women. Even the books we read we written by male authors about the male experience in the war. I’m really excited to be reading Not So Quiet to get a better picture of how women truly engaged with war at the time.

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