Faculty Sponsor

Karen Berrier


Arts and Sciences


Foreign Languages and Literature

Presentation Type

Poster Presentation

Symposium Date

Spring 5-3-2018


As part of a larger research project addressing women and female gender identities during World War I, this research analyzes the fashion of French flappers shown in photos in twentieth century French magazines, and women's roles and actions that replaced men who fought in the war. This research raises the question: Can women be heroes in twentieth century France like men? Where it comes to questions of heroism during WWI, the literature tends to focus on the men who fought in the war for their country, in the name of French nationalism. A comparative analysis of gender roles between men and women reveals more about what it meant to be a modern woman during times of war. At the time, to be a French hero in WWI meant to fight as a soldier for the country France. Since women were not allowed to enlist in the war, their roles changed in relation to their transitioning society. They had to replace the men in the workforce; they were expected to support the injured soldiers as nurses and caregivers. Women's actions were still done for the well-being of France. French women used fashion and acts such as cutting their hair to physically represent the new, modern women. Thus, I argue that the modern female heroine becomes masculine in twentieth century France by her actions and by her physical fashion choices because she is independent, patriotic, and fighting for French nationalism.

Biographical Information about Author(s)

Jewan Attallah is a senior triple major in History, French, and International Economics and Cultural Affairs from Valparaiso, Indiana. This project belonged to the French senior seminar topic of Heroes. After her semester abroad in France, her interests in French literature and French culture heightened. With her prior studies in European women's history, she was inspired from the French fashion industry and Simone de Beauvoir feminist movement to study how gender roles change in relation to war. She looks forward to continue her French language studies by reading French literature in her free time.