chapter  4
Pages 27

The difficulty o f access to the material and the fact that collabora­ tion remains a highly sensitive issue in France is one o f the reasons why historians have been more reluctant to deal with this aspect of the history o f les annees noires than that o f Resistance. Feminist and women’s historians working on the period have been more concerned to stress resistance and volition, and have no t wanted to appear to be apologizing for women involved in making the ‘wrong’ choice. The phenom enon o f women whose heads were shaved during the L iberation has acted as a symbolic representation within which all aspects o f wom en’s collaboration have been collapsed. Thus, most existing studies of collaboration have assumed that apart from what is referred to as ‘horizontal’ o r sexual collaboration, col­ laboration was a predom inantly male activity. However, increased access to the transcripts of the trials that took place in the postwar years, and detailed local studies of the Occupation, indicate that women participated in a spectrum of patterns of behaviour which ranged from acceptance of Vichy to ou trigh t collaboration with the Occupying forces. This chapter will argue that women were involved with collaboration on a num ber of levels. It will also demonstrate that there were certain forms of collaboration activity that were gender-specific or which, because o f the circumstances of the war, concerned women m ore directly.