Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS
Montage of images and link description. Fly Girls Imagemap: linked to kids and home
The Film and More
Imagemap(text links below) of menu items
The American Experience
The Film & More
Reference
Interview Transcripts | Bibliography | Primary Sources


Debbie Douglas on: The Historical Importance of the WASP Program
Debbie Douglas Q: What does the WASP program mean historically?

The WASP are important to us historically in several different ways. First it's an incredibly interesting story. It's an unexpected war story really. We're accustomed to men going off to battle, we're accustomed to Teddy Roosevelt leading charges up San Juan Hill we all can recall the war films of the 50s and 60s that show Gregory Peck leading officers into battle and debating the issues of leadership. If you say the word "solider", you think "male", if you say the word "pilot" you think "male" and so here's a wonderful story where all of our expectations are twisted. That when you say the word "pilot" you get the word "girl" - they didn't say women then. When you say the word "soldier" or almost a soldier, again you get the word "female." That's extraordinarily interesting to us because we debate this question what are the appropriate roles for men and women in our society? What can men and women do? What is the best way of organizing our lives that allow us the greatest levels of satisfaction. And the traditional categories have been breaking down really over the past 50 years and so we're intrigued by this story right at the beginning. The point at which we see as a turning point in the 20th century we have this story of some of the first women to challenge the stereotypes, the norms.

back to Interview Transcripts


Program Description | Enhanced Transcript | Reference

WEB CREDITS | THE FILM & MORE | SPECIAL FEATURE | TIMELINE | MAPS | PEOPLE & EVENTS | TEACHER'S GUIDE