Thursday, July 15, 2010

The T-nT girls

Saw this piece, thanks to Nilanjana.

American women reporters were barred from press briefings, banned from going nearer to the front than the nurses in the field, and were not provided by the military with transport, as their male colleagues were.

Most galling, however, women reporters had to wait to submit their reports until after the men. Similarly, when the British government accredited 558 writers, radio journalists and photographers to cover the D-day landings, not one was a woman (even though many women had both seen and reported the Blitz three years earlier).

Some women war correspondents wrote under different names.

From inside Germany she reported on the hundreds of anti-Semitic laws passed, the beatings (and worse) meted out to those opposing Hitler, and the building of a concentration camp at Dachau in 1933.

When her articles raised Nazi hackles she began to publish stories under the name John Dickson, a reporter apparently living in Paris.

Also, there were women like Gellhorn, Ernest Hemingway's wife and, later, professional rival... Tall and leggy, her shoulder-length hair worn loose, Gellhorn chased her stories in tweeds and gowns.

She pitched a piece to Vogue on 'the beauty problems of the middle-aged woman' that paid for her ticket. 'I am going to Spain with the boys,' she wrote to a family friend. 'I don't know who the boys are, but I am going with them.'

But her marriage to Hemingway ended when he pitched for a job she had been chasing. He got the job. But she got the scoop. Here's how:

She boarded a hospital ship and locked herself in the bathroom until it sailed from port, emerging during the crossing to help take in the wounded... was among the first on the beach at Normandy, scooping Hemingway in the end, to file a story about the wounded that humanised the cost of the victorious assault.

The piece is absolutely enriching and for many, many women writers, will also be liberating. I might even buy the novel written by the author, though I have to confess I'd much rather have read a non-fiction account.

1 comment:

Kits said...

The article is a fab read and really makes you want to buy the book. Thanks so much for sharing Annie

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