Publication Date

April 2016

Advisor(s)

Nathanael Greene, Erik Grimmer-Solem

Major

History (HIST)

Language

English (United States)

Abstract

The punishment of female collaborators in France at Liberation has been vastly overlooked in the histories of Vichy and Liberation. My thesis looks at gender relations in French society during the Vichy regime through a specific event, known as the tontes, which occurred throughout France during Liberation. The tontes consisted in shaving the heads of women accused of collaborating with the Germans. Not only did these femmes tondues, or shorn women, get their heads shaved, but some were also forced to parade through their towns naked, covered in tar, branded with a swastika, and stripped of their French citizenship. As a social history, my thesis will be analyzing the tontes as a series of events that were emblematic of the strained relations between the sexes during the Occupation. Unlike the other histories on the femmes tondues, I will be looking at how the evolution of the French discourse on pronatalism from the nineteenth century to the Vichy regime can provide an explanation as to why and how the tontes occurred in France. Since many of these women refused to speak about their experiences, there is a lack of sources on this event. Therefore, I will be looking at these women, not as individuals, but as representations of a broader gender crisis.

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