We’ve already seen how these Victorian ideals of masculinity were applied to women in propaganda films, like to the telephone operators in “Fires Were Started.” Celia, the main character in Millions Like Us, provides another example, when she learns that her husband, a pilot in the RAF, has been killed. She holds back her tears, not wanting to cry. The film’s final scene takes place during a lunchtime concert at the factory where Celia works—a concert that includes a song that was played during Celia’s wedding reception. Though still mourning her husband, Celia joins in and sings along with the other workers, determined to be cheerful. Celia, as well as the telephone operators in "Fires Were Started" are as utterly unflappable as any Victorian gentleman. But, of course, none of these stoic British heroes were gentlemen at all. They were women.
Why did women in British propaganda films start to embody the same ideals that—in the Victorian period—had applied to men?