7 May 2010

Retro Post: War and the Bomber Girl.

Hello kittens! It has been a while so let's not waste time! It's RETRO week baby! *ETA: Retro WW2 Era to be specific. So think 40's! My favorite era! *

Today is Military Spouse appreciation day. Their contributions to the war efforts of today and years passed truly cannot be measured, and likely aren't as appreciated as it should be. If you want to read an excellent blog from a military spouse, I would advise you to read my friend Rebecca's blog, The Reluctant Homefront. She put into such eloquent words about the struggles and joy's of being a military spouse, and in my humble opinion, does the finest job anywhere on the net. So I will leave it up to her to do so.

But what I wanted to draw attention to was the contributions of the often overlooked and controversial girl in the war effort. That of the Bomber Girl in World War II.

The bomber girl began appearing on the nose of bombers and fighters during World War II. These "flying ladies" were painted on planes and served as aviators unique calling card and as personal escorts during missions of danger and uncertainty. They were created for a number of reasons: sexual deprivation, a battle cry, teasing the enemy, for good luck, etc. They were an extension of the pin-up girl, a connection home, but they became so much more.

Nose art made the aircraft easier to identify other than just simply using the serial number. This provided the plane a personality; it became an entity. For example, when you saw a certain "girl" returning from a bombing run you could immediately surmise what crew had made it back. While the military attempted to ban them on several occasions, but the art prevailed for its value in boosting morale for the crew.

The boundaries of decency were often left to the crew themselves. The bomber girls provided a signature for each unit and united the men together and felt a sense of belonging. Crews felt they were protected and had faith that they were coming back. Each bomber girl was an escort into the unknown, offering comfort in the face of mortality, promise of rebirth, continuity, renewal and salvation.

The act still continues today, although the hey day of using illicit images of women as nose art is most commonly associated with World War 2 and peaked at the Korean War.

Stay tuned for more retro posts!


OptimistK said...

Interesting topic my friend. I have always enjoyed the "art" of pin-up girls - and the bomber girls are an extension of that.

The 40's were such an interesting time. It was the end of the Depression, but also war time, and women started to work outside the home.

Can't wait to hear more.

Joanna said...

Very cool post, Dani.

And notice how the pin-up girls are fully clothed (for the most part), yet still totally sexy?

I especially like the last one (Big Beautiful Doll) where it looks like you can see her abs, lol.