White Blouses in the Blackshirt Nation: Women and Uniforms in Fascist Italy

Perry Willson (Lead / Corresponding author)

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    Uniforms were a core element of the visual spectacle of the Italian Fascist regime and a means for its supporters to publicly proclaim their political allegiance. Initially considered intrinsically masculine, part of the Fascist quest to bolster Italian virility, there was considerable hostility to the idea of women in uniform. By the mid-1930s, however, women were allowed and even encouraged to wear uniforms, albeit in different versions to those worn by men, versions that underscored their marginal position in the party. Drawing on archival and contemporary press sources, as well as memoirs, this article explores the meaning and limitations of uniform-wearing for the millions of female Italians who eventually wore them, looking at aspects like the impact on women’s role and visibility in the regime, the symbols embedded in the uniforms’ garments and insignia, and women’s and girls’ experience of wearing them.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1107-1126
    Number of pages20
    JournalWomen's History Review
    Issue number7
    Early online date25 Mar 2022
    Publication statusPublished - 2022


    • Fasci femminili
    • Fascism
    • Italy
    • Uniforms
    • women

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Gender Studies
    • History


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