The student blog for Drake University first year seminar entitled Visual Politics

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Rosie the Riveter

 Rosie the Riveter is possibly the most famous picture used on the home front during World War II. Before World War II, the American economy was in shambles. World War I had just ended and America was experiencing the Great Depression. Americans were struggling to find jobs. That is arguably one of the reasons the United States did not enter the war until they were attacked. However, as the war continued, more and more men were being sent overseas to fight.
The picture of Rosie the Riveter first came out in 1942 after the war had begun. Men fighting overseas needed guns and parts for airplanes to fight in the war. There were few men left in America the time who would do that job; they were all fighting. They needed someone to step into the factory and make parts. This is where Rosie the Riveter came in. The Rosie the Riveter campaign encouraged women to get into the workforce to support the troops overseas. They would do anything to help the men fighting. Many of the women who worked had husbands, sons, brothers, and/or friends fighting in Europe.
This was the first time in American history that women were seen as workers, not just housewives. The clothes the woman in the picture is wearing and the way she has her hair tied up in the bandana would look like that of a male worker. She took on the genre of the male worker in society for that time. This image increased the number of American female workers drastically.  Many women found they enjoyed going to work every day. The women proved to themselves and to the country that women can do a “man’s job” and get it done well. Even after the war was over, they wanted to continue to work, but the government wanted the men who came home to return to their same jobs. Shortly after, the Women’s Rights Movement began.
Not only did this image create the social movement towards women in the workforce, it also helped the economy. The war in general had helped the economy, but the fact that women were willing to take on the jobs in the factories meant they could have an income while their husbands were at war. New jobs were created during the war to accommodate the economy, and the United States came out of World War II with a thriving economy.
Kelli Riesberg

1 comment:

  1. Interesting that you refer to the US as "they" and not "we." Anything to read into that? :-)
    Nicely done.
    - Ralph