Visible and Invisible
: Masculinity, Stigma and Facial and Psychological Injuries of the First World War

  • Bethany Richardson-Smith

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


This dissertation examines the way in which facial and psychological injuries, and the stigmas associated with them, impacted upon the masculinity of wounded soldiers in the First World War. Whilst facial and psychological injuries are very different in their type and form, facial injury being highly visible and psychological injury being mostly invisible, they were both similar in the way the stigmas associated with them worked to emasculate the servicemen who suffered from them. These stigmas and the resulting emasculation separated facially and psychologically injured men from the wider group of wounded ex-servicemen and removed their ability to claim the heroically wounded masculinity that was a dominant part of the hegemonic masculinity during the war. Throughout this dissertation primary sources such as oral history interviews and transcripts, private papers, news articles, and patient files have been used and there is a focus on different bodies of secondary literature around facial injury, shellshock, hegemonic masculinity, disability, and class. Using a cultural history and social model of disability approach this dissertation explores the physical and social consequences of facial and psychological injuries, and how stigmas that became associated with them emasculated the men and further excluded them from society.
Date of Award27 Jun 2022
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorChristine Hallett (Main Supervisor)

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