‘White Feathers and wounded men’ N Gullace


White Feather: featured at the 1916 Exhibition, Crawley.
Admiral recruits 30 women to give out white feathers to slackers in The Leas, Dover.
Town Cryer recruited women, Deal and Walmer (Chatham News, 5 Sep 1914).
Don’t believe Virginia Woolf’s being dismissive of the practise as the author found in the IWM aural archive some 200 references to being the recipient of or giving out a white feather, yet her describing ‘the manhood emotion’ is appealing.
A lesson in history, sources, stories and events possibly embellished over time.
Un-enlisted men accused of cowardice and effeminacy. Times, August 1914.
Advertisement: Recruiting women to give out white feathers to men lawn tennising and cricketing. 31 August 1914 Times.
Advertisement: petticoats for all able-bodied young men 27 August 1914 The Times.
A monstrous distortion of femininity.
Scorning a coward, loving a hero.
Posters, leaflets, lecturers.
Lectures not the best way to reach the working man. 31 August 1914 The Times
The fight to the finish. 31 August 1914 The Times
Many a time a woman or women got it wrong : giving out feathers to a soldier on leave.
Sexual selection, bravery and cowardice – from the 1902 Novel ‘the Four Feathers’ and the white feather in the fighting cock a symbol of weakness.
The White feather becoming a badge of courage and honour once redeemed.
See score grab on Khaki fever.
4 Sept 1914 The Baroness Orczy – give the nation your men. The Daily Mail
Use all the influence you posses to urge your man to serve.
September 1914 : Woman’s World ‘a Soldier’s Wife’ story of cowardice redeemed.


Complications of post war oral history.



Gullace, N, ‘White feathers and wounded men..’, Journal of British Studies, 1997, Volume 36, Issue 2, pp. 178–206. E-library


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