Women in Propaganda

Aside from working and contributing to the war effort, women were also embedded within wartime propaganda. Two factors were responsible for women being both the subjects and the targets of propaganda. The first is, that they made up a large portion of the population that remained during that war, therefore they were the largest market with the most power (Glassford and Shaw, 2012). The other reason was that the female image evoked such a strong emotional response, from both women and men, that the government utilized it so that their propaganda would be more impactful. For men, the female image is often associated with innocence, and when this innocence is placed within the context of war, it aims to inspire men to enlist to help protect it. (Alexander, 2012). As the war continued, and many women became involved with the war effort, the image of a nurse became a “dominant symbol of patriotic womanhood” and was used to encourage women to continue their fight (Quiney, 2012).

To the Women of Canada

This poster is an example of propaganda that spoke directly to women, manipulating them to  “play an active role in recruiting men to enlist” (Glassford and Shaw, 2012). In this example, they utilized both the threat of German invasion and the possible guilt of not letting their husbands fight as a way to convince women to let their “man” enlist.

Aux Femmes du Canada

French version of the poster to the right. This poster also showcases that the government wanted to speak to all women, not just those who spoke English.

Oh please do! Daddy - Buy Me a Victory Bond

Oh please do! Daddy - Buy Me a Victory Bond

This poster's main focus is selling victory bonds and is targeting a male audience. To do so they have included a young girl and the nickname "Daddy" aiming to appeal to the paternal nature of men and how they view young girls as things that need protection.

How Can I Serve Canada?

How Can I Serve Canada?

Another example of propaganda speaking directly to women. This poster is trying to utilize the imagery of strong French women as a way to spur and guilt Canadian women into helping with the war effort. If not by way of physical labour, then the call to action at the bottom “Buy Victory Bonds” also encourages women to contribute in a financial way as well.

What Are You Doing for Those He Left Behind?

This poster stood out from the rest as it seems to be targeting young women specifically. Many times, young women assumed a motherly role during the war, as their mothers were often nurses or physical labourers and were not home to take care of the children. As young women took over this role, they also assumed guilt of not being able to do more (Alexander, 2012). This poster advertises a subscription to the Patriotic Fund as a solution to that guilt.

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