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