In collaboration with its partners the Dept. of Spanish, Italian and Portuguese, and the Penn State University Libraries, SIMSF invited Kathryn Everly (Syracuse U) to PSU to offer the presentation titled “Sirens or Soldiers? Women in the Spanish Civil War.”
“The lecture emphasized the lost history of females during war; from fighting on the front to being used as symbols in propaganda, women gained much power during this time. The presentation primarily used photographs and propaganda posters to display the ups and downs of female empowerment during the Spanish Civil War.
With about 70 people in attendance, Everly shared information on how women started to gain power despite a clash between representation and expectations of female gender roles. Women close to the military were seen as sexual objects and marginalized as prostitutes. In reality, females who served at the front, rejected gender conformities and refused to allow ideas of feminine behavior hold them back from the fight.
These young women were about 18-25 years old and in some falsified images were seen dressed conservatively with modest dresses, heels and a rifle, which symbolized masculinity. These photographs of rifle clad women showcase the equalized potential to kill the enemy despite gender as well as a contrast between femininity and masculinity.” (The Underground-Penn State News, Nov. 29, 2018).