Tuesday, March 08, 2011

The Order of the White Feather

The False Rape Society: Flashback: The Women's Group Organized to Shame Young Men Into Being Cannon Fodder

Mindless nonsense and propaganda knoweth no cultural bounds when it comes to trying to get youth of support the conflicts of Governments that can't get along with each other.

Thanks to the False Rape Society blog for calling attention to this dark chapter of history. Here's one of the links they referenced, and some content:


James Lovegrove was only sixteen when he joined the army on the outbreak of the First World War.

On my way to work one morning a group of women surrounded me. They started shouting and yelling at me, calling me all sorts of names for not being a soldier! Do you know what they did? They struck a white feather in my coat, meaning I was a coward. Oh, I did feel dreadful, so ashamed.

I went to the recruiting office. The sergeant there couldn't stop laughing at me, saying things like "Looking for your father, sonny?", and "Come back next year when the war's over!" Well, I must have looked so crestfallen that he said "Let's check your measurements again". You see, I was five foot six inches and only about eight and a half stone. This time he made me out to be about six feet tall and twelve stone, at least, that is what he wrote down. All lies of course - but I was in!"

(6) Francis Beckett, The Guardian (17th May 2008)
The war's extraordinary vividness is because it left a whole generation deeply and irreparably damaged, and that generation is close enough for many of us to have known members of it - and because millions of people can still do what I have just done. After reading, in quick succession, these four books about the men who fought the war (not a course of action I recommend as the preliminary to a carefree weekend), I took out a box of flimsy, yellowing letters, and tried yet again to imagine what my grandfather went through.
He had three small daughters, which saved him from conscription, and his attempt to volunteer was turned down in 1914 because he was short-sighted. But in 1916, as he walked home to south London from his office, a woman gave him a white feather (an emblem of cowardice). He enlisted the next day. By that time, they cared nothing for short sight. They just wanted a body to stop a shell, which Rifleman James Cutmore duly did in February 1918, dying of his wounds on March 28.
Read more here: http://web.viu.ca/davies/H482.WWI/WhiteFeathersPatriotismWomenWWl.pdf

Also check the following:

"White Feather" Feminism: The Recalcitrant Progeny of Radical Suffragist and Conservative Pro-War Britain
It was Emmeline Pankhurst’s call for universal compulsory national service for both sexes that especially served the conservative line. Female service would be played out on the floor of the factory. This new work force would be in direct opposition to the concerns of the “socialist” trade unions:
In 1915, at the request of Lloyd George . . . the tiny but dynamic nucleus of the WSPU organized a mammoth Women’s Right to Serve demonstration in London to help overcome the still lively resistance of trade union leaders to the mass introduction of female labour. (Mitchell 51)
The conservative British establishment utilized Emmeline Pankhurst’s influence in their effort to curb “socialist” movement. Emmeline Pankhurst utilized a conservative stance to place her underlying concerns for suffrage and women’s rights in a better light and in a better position politically. She ultimately cozied up to the power structure of British society, many of whom she had previously considered the enemies of women, to advance the feminist agenda.

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