Girls Playing at Soldiers: Destabilizing the Masculinity of War Play in Georgian Britain

  • Jennine Hurl-Eamon
Keywords: war play, Georgian children, gender, girls, toys, mock drill, British Army, Napoleonic War

Abstract

This article destabilizes previous assumptions of the inherent masculinity of war play by examining the many forms of Georgian girls’ participation. Girls may not have used professionally manufactured guns, but they did similar things with more makeshift weapons. Veterans’ accounts played a key role in inspiring both boys’ and girls’ re-enactments. Girls’ interest in war play was fuelled by complex social messaging admiring female soldiers and praising the value of martial training for both sexes. These findings highlight the need to historicize play and to recognize the pervasive influence of war in eighteenth-century girls’ lives.

 

DOI: 10.1353/jeu.2020.0004

Author Biography

Jennine Hurl-Eamon

Jennine Hurl-Eamon is Professor of History at Trent University and author of three books, including Marriage and the British Army in the Long Eighteenth Century (Oxford UP, 2014). Her current project is a monograph on childhood and war, 1756 to 1815, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Published
2020-08-27
How to Cite
Hurl-Eamon, J. (2020). Girls Playing at Soldiers: Destabilizing the Masculinity of War Play in Georgian Britain. Jeunesse: Young People, Texts, Cultures, 12(1), 39-62. Retrieved from http://jeunessejournal.ca/index.php/yptc/article/view/516
Section
Articles for Special Issue on Youngsters