From Pearl Harbor (1941) to Pearl Harbor (2001): On the Emancipatory Potential of Nursing During Wartime and its Representation in Hollywood Film

Susanne Bueechl

Abstract


This essay examines the representation of the nursing profession in the Hollywood movie Pearl Harbor (2001). As cultural products of their time, films tell us about the social and political conditions in which they were created. In the late 1990s and early 2000s a conservative feminist backlash, which Susan Faludi described as early as 1991 was still impacting the emancipation of women. In its often reactionary portrayal of the women nurses of World War II, Pearl Harbor seems to reflect more the situation of women in the 1990s than doing justice to the role of nurses during the attack on Pearl Harbor. Thus, through a cultural studies-informed analysis of the movie and its protagonist Evelyn Johnson, expectations of nurses during World War II will be examined and challenged.


Keywords


Pearl Harbor (film); World War II; Nursing; Emancipation; Gender; Feminism

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