Representation of female war-time bravery in Australia’s Wanda the War Girl

Chapman, Jane (2011) Representation of female war-time bravery in Australia’s Wanda the War Girl. Australasian Journal of Popular Culture, 1 (2). pp. 153-163. ISSN 2045-5852

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/ajpc.1.2.153_1

Abstract

This article analyses from a gendered perspective aspects of form and cultural record relating to Wanda the War Girl (1943–1951), by artist Kath O’Brien – a Second World War strip for the (Sydney) Sunday Telegraph that was said to have been more popular with both adults and children than Superman. This was one of the first local comics to reflect a female point of view, combined with some vernacular characteristics, and the series is significant historically because the Second World War was also the first occasion on which Australian servicewomen existed. The well dressed adventuress and spy exemplified a new attitude towards women. Although she was a sexually provocative pin-up, Wanda the War Girl presented a form of female representation necessitated by the Second World War, which differed from earlier styles. The female character was powerful and productive: her bravery and attraction derived from her presence in male spheres. It is argued that by providing an interesting mosaic of 1940s attitudes, creator O’Brien’s support for the war effort has become a valid cultural record of the period.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:comics, wanda the war girl, australian comics industry, Australia, representation, Gender, Cultural record, Second World war, Kath O'Brien, Sidney Sunday Telegraph, 1940s, service women, pin-up, female representation, wartime bravery, social realism, comic strip, propaganda
Subjects:P Mass Communications and Documentation > P290 Publicity studies not elsewhere classified
V Historical and Philosophical studies > V271 International History
P Mass Communications and Documentation > P990 Mass Communications and Documentation not elsewhere classified
L Social studies > L321 Women's Studies
V Historical and Philosophical studies > V200 History by area
P Mass Communications and Documentation > P590 Journalism not elsewhere classified
V Historical and Philosophical studies > V320 Social History
V Historical and Philosophical studies > V350 History of Art
V Historical and Philosophical studies > V390 History by Topic not elsewhere classified
P Mass Communications and Documentation > P400 Publishing
P Mass Communications and Documentation > P210 Public Relations
P Mass Communications and Documentation > P300 Media studies
Q Linguistics, Classics and related subjects > Q200 Comparative Literary studies
V Historical and Philosophical studies > V146 Modern History 1920-1949
V Historical and Philosophical studies > V900 Others in Historical and Philosophical studies
V Historical and Philosophical studies > V261 Australian History
V Historical and Philosophical studies > V300 History by topic
V Historical and Philosophical studies > V140 Modern History
V Historical and Philosophical studies > V391 Military History
P Mass Communications and Documentation > P490 Publishing not elsewhere classified
P Mass Communications and Documentation > P900 Others in Mass Communications and Documentation
P Mass Communications and Documentation > P305 Paper-based Media studies
P Mass Communications and Documentation > P390 Media studies not elsewhere classified
P Mass Communications and Documentation > P500 Journalism
V Historical and Philosophical studies > V100 History by period
Divisions:College of Arts > Lincoln School of Journalism
ID Code:3895
Deposited By: Jane Chapman
Deposited On:27 Jan 2011 17:45
Last Modified:11 Aug 2014 17:32

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