Date of Award
Master of Arts
Dr. Eli Rubin
Dr. Marion Gray
Dr. Lynne Heasley
WLA, gender, identity, landscapes, war
Masters Thesis-Open Access
The land girls who comprised the Women’s Land Army in Great Britain during the Second World War challenged cultural assumptions regarding gender and femininity. Through their work in agriculture, social anxieties were provoked regarding proper notions of femininity and separate spheres, which left these women in conflicting positions as they carved a spot for themselves in a war torn society. In order to carry out their work in the Women’s Land Army, land girls operated at the convergence of private and public spheres in a conjoined space. Living and operating in this conjoined space enabled them to blur the ideological boundaries of separate spheres and beliefs regarding femininity. This thesis relies on oral interviews, published land girl memoirs and diaries, and key primary and secondary sources to review and analyze land girls’ experiences. It finds that, through their work in agriculture, land girls both challenged and ignored cultural values regarding femininity and separate-sphere ideology, while at other times they upheld these long established normative values. Through their agricultural experiences, land girls expanded their own identities, discovered new skill sets and desires, reshaped agricultural landscapes, and became more visible and active participants in the agricultural world.
Anderson, "The British Women’s Land Army: Gender, Identity, and Landscapes" (2014). Master's Theses. 517.