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War's WasteRehabilitation in World War I America$
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Beth Linker

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780226482538

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226482552.001.0001

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A New Female Force

A New Female Force

Chapter:
(p.61) Three A New Female Force
Source:
War's Waste
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226482552.003.0004

This chapter employs the story of the rise of wartime physical therapy to show how the rehabilitation project relied on women to serve both as war symbols and workers, despite the fact that the two roles often came into conflict. Physiotherapists became role models of how women should respond to the war wounded in the new, post-pension era of rehabilitation. Female therapists were able to knead, mold, and stroke the male body without any suggestion of impropriety. Wartime physiotherapists belittled the work of occupational therapy, characterizing it as a “pleasant handicraft that can be picked up in a few spare hours.” They made rubbing respectable because of the therapeutic encounter that involved an element of pain. Physiotherapists stood apart from other female war workers due to their treatments that frequently aroused pain and shame in their patients.

Keywords:   wartime physical therapy, rehabilitation, women, wartime physiotherapists, female therapists, pain

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