So I thought I would post a few images from my paper on here, because the imagery is actually what’s interesting about this topic. I wrote about Rosie the Riveter, and I’m sure the first image that springs to mind is this:
But actually, this image is some unidentified women entirely. It had nothing to do with the Rosie the Riveter trend. This poster was completely obscure during WWII- it was hung up for literally 2 weeks in a small factory in Pittsburgh. That’s it! It wasn’t widely used, and it was only ever seen by the employees of that factory. Somehow, in the mid 1980s, it got rediscovered and touted as this significant piece of WWII propaganda. Researchers have never been able to track how it went from complete obscurity to mass popularity- that’s what makes it so interesting! In spite of its modern-day status as a symbol of feminism, it was made to motivate both female AND male employees.
The real Rosie is from a song and a Rockwell image that was on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post:
She looks pretty different! Rosie was a character from a pop song, and when the song + Rockwell’s image got popular, the government capitalized on it and found “real-life Rosies” to hype women up.