Rosie the Riveter is one of the most famous icons in American history. She stands as a powerful reminder of the American women’s essential contributions to victory during World War II. Rosie was not an actual person, but a symbol for millions of American women who stepped up to help during the war effort, challenging the traditional female role as homemaker. The Rosie character was used in many war marketing efforts including an oil painting done by the famous painter, Norman Rockwell, called “Rosie the Riveter.” His painting was distributed to millions via the cover of the Saturday Evening Post on Memorial Day in 1943 (History.com Staff). Norman Rockwell’s masculine depiction of Rosie the Riveter challenges gender roles while supporting the …show more content…
A traditional woman’s normal tasks consisted of raising the children, cleaning the home, and preparing each meal (Ciulla 508). Many husbands would not have tolerated their wives getting a job during the depression, but patriotic duty during the war provided the justification for temporarily transcending these traditional roles (Gluck 156). When the war came along the men went to war leaving behind many jobs on US soil that needed to be filled. This necessitated a dramatic reassessment of a woman’s role in American life (Honey 1).
The government started marketing these jobs to women. The patriotic need for women to enter the workforce was stressed through posters, photographs, music, movies, newspapers, and articles. Approximately six million women answered the call to enter the workforce. Between 1940 and 1945 women in the workforce went from 27% to 37% (History.com Staff). Women began to embrace and make changes in their work and family roles that substantially challenged conventional notions of femininity (Anderson …show more content…
Rockwell displays Rosie cradling her riveter instead of a child, but it has been said that the pose of Rockwell’s haloed Rosie cradling her riveter resembles the painting from the Renaissance called “Madonna and Child with two Angels,” by Fra Filippo Lippi. Rosie’s face mask sitting on top of her head could also symbolize a traditional headdress like the Madonna may have worn. Just as Rockwell painted Rosie cradling her hydraulic gun, so did propagandists portray production workers in a maternal light. Women who were in the workforce prior to World War II were viewed as sexual sirens so in order to accommodate the recruitment campaign, the government made an effort to portray women as temporary workers whose families came first, and they found congenial nuances in motherhood (Honey 481). Rockwell’s Rosie appears to be wearing a Blue Star Flag pin. This pin implies that she has a son in the war, which is another way to portray her in a maternal or feminine
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It is fundamental to define “old” and “new” roles of women to make a comparison between them. The “old” role of women in the workplace involved menial jobs, and before World War II, women were expected to remain at home and raise kids. Roughly thirty states enacted laws to prohibit married women from working
Rosie the riveter was the face of recruiting women into the Armed Forces during WWII. The increasing demand for soldiers was not being filled fast enough by just males. As a result, between the years 1940 and 1945, the percentage of female service members increased from 27% to 37%. Even on the civilian side of things, the ratio of married working women outside of their homes increased to one out of every four. The population of women that did not join the war was prompted by Rosie the Riveter’s iconic image to work in one of the many munitions industries throughout the US. In 1943, not only had the female population contributed exponential numbers in support of the war; but women had begun to dominate. Reports indicate that more than 310,000 women worked in the U.S. aircraft industry; this made up more than half of the total workforce. Prior to this moment in history, women’s involvement in the aircraft industry was merely one percent.
“There was much more to women’s work during World War Two than make, do, and mend. Women built tanks, worked with rescue teams, and operated behind enemy lines” (Carol Harris). Have you ever thought that women could have such an important role during a war? In 1939 to 1945 for many women, World War II brought not only sacrifices, but also a new style of life including more jobs, opportunities and the development of new skills. They were considered as America’s “secret weapon” by the government. Women allowed getting over every challenge that was imposed by a devastating war. It is necessary to recognize that women during this period brought a legacy that produced major changes in social norms and work in America.
The film titled, “The Life and Times of Rosie the Riveter”, looks at the roles of women during and after World War II within the U.S. The film interviews five women who had experienced the World War II effects in the U.S, two who were Caucasian and three who were African American. These five women, who were among the millions of women recruited into skilled male-oriented jobs during World War II, shared insight into how women were treated, viewed and mainly controlled. Along with the interviews are clips from U.S. government propaganda films, news reports from the media, March of Time films, and newspaper stories, all depicting how women are to take "the men’s" places to keep up with industrial production, while reassured that their duties were fulfilling the patriotic and feminine role. After the war the government and media had changed their message as women were to resume the role of the housewife, maid and mother to stay out of the way of returning soldiers. Thus the patriotic and feminine role was nothing but a mystified tactic the government used to maintain the American economic structure during the world war period. It is the contention of this paper to explore how several groups of women were treated as mindless individuals that could be controlled and disposed of through the government arranging social institutions, media manipulation and propaganda, and assumptions behind women’s tendencies which forced “Rosie the Riveter” to become a male dominated concept.
The role of women in American history has evolved a great deal over the past few centuries. In less than a hundred years, the role of women has moved from housewife to highly paid corporate executive to political leader. As events in history have shaped the present world, one can find hidden in such moments, pivotal points that catapult destiny into an unforeseen direction. This paper will examine one such pivotal moment, fashioned from the fictitious character known as ‘Rosie the Riveter’ who represented the powerful working class women during World War II and how her personification has helped shape the future lives of women.
World War I and industrialization both brought greater economic autonomy to American women. With immigration curtailed and hundreds of thousands of men needed for the armed forces, women’s labor became a wartime necessity. About 1.5 million women worked in paying jobs during the war, with many more employed as volunteers or secretaries and yeomen for the Army, Navy, and Marines (James and Wells, 66). Women retained few of those 1.5 million jobs after men returned from war, but the United States’ industrialized postwar economy soon provided enough work for men and women alike. Once confined to nursing, social work, teaching, or secretarial jobs, women began to find employment in new fields. According to Allen, “They ...
When American officially entered World War II in 1941 changes occurred for many people. The draft was enacted forcing men to do their duty and fight for their country. Women were asked to hold down the home front in many ways, ranging from rationing, volunteering, saving bacon grease and making the most of their commodities they currently had. There was also a hard push for women to take war production jobs outside the home. Before the depression, just a few years before the war, it was not uncommon for a woman to work for wages, but as the depression set in, married women were at risk of losing their jobs. Numerous women were fired or asked to resign in order to make room for a man who had lost his job. Many citizens felt it was unfair for a family to have two wage earners when some families had none. (Kessler-Harris) Previously, the average workforce of women was young and single. However, when the war started, couples were married at a younger age, putting the typical worker in short supply. This led to a rapid increase in older married women going to work outside the home. “During the depression, 80 percent of Americans objected to wives working outside the home, by 1942, only 13 percent still objected.” (May) By the end of the war, 25 percent of married women were employed. (May) Although women had worked outside the home prior to World War II, their entrance into the war production labor force created change in the typical gender roles and provided an exciting and yet difficult time for many women who were gaining their independence.
During WWII, women took over the work force, and had such inspirations as Rosie the Riveter. This created a generation of women who wanted more out of life than birthing children, and keeping a nice home for their husband. The end of the war, however, brought with it a decrease of working women. In the 1950’s the rate of working women had slightly rebounded to 29% following the post-war decrease in 1945. These women were well rounded, working outside the home, and still having dinner on the table by 5PM.
During the war, men were off fighting for America, and the women were left behind to take over their jobs in the factories. Women proved that they can do almost all of the same jobs as men. Rosie the Riveter, a picture of a woman flexing with a caption of “We Can Do It,” became the symbol for women all across the nation. After the war, years later, women began to receive equal pay for the same jobs that the men were doing. Many other minority groups, such as African Americans, played a huge
Many factors affected the changes in women’s employment. The change that occurred went through three major phases: the prewar period in the early 1940s, the war years from 1942-1944, and the post war years from around 1945-1949. The labor shortage that occurred as men entered the military propelled a large increase in women’s entrance into employment during the war. Men's return to the civilian workforce at the end of the war caused the sudden drop to prewar levels. The cause of the sudden decline during post war years of women in the paid workforce is unclear. Many questions are left unanswered: What brought women into the war industry, ...
During America’s involvement in World War Two, which spanned from 1941 until 1945, many men went off to fight overseas. This left a gap in the defense plants that built wartime materials, such as tanks and other machines for battle. As a result, women began to enter the workforce at astonishing rates, filling the roles left behind by the men. As stated by Cynthia Harrison, “By March of , almost one-third of all women over the age of fourteen were in the labor force, and the numbers of women in industry had increased almost 500 percent. For the first time in history, women were in the exact same place as their male counterparts had been, even working the same jobs. The women were not dependent upon men, as the men were overseas and far from influence upon their wives.
During the time of 1940-1945 a big whole opened up in the industrial labor force because of the men enlisting. World War II was a hard time for the United States and knowing that it would be hard on their work force, they realized they needed the woman to do their part and help in any way they can. Whether it is in the armed forces or at home the women showed they could help out. In the United States armed forces about 350,000 women served at home and abroad. The woman’s work force in the United States increased from 27 percent to nearly 37percent, and by 1945 nearly one out of every four married woman worked outside the home. This paper will show the way the United States got the woman into these positions was through propaganda from
Rosie the Riveter is a cultural icon of the United States. She represents the American women who took the jobs of the men during world war 2. They sometimes got entirely different jobs because the spot needed filled. Rosie the Riveter is used as a symbol of feminism and women?s economic power. The world wars were total wars that required governments to utilize their entire populations to defeat the enemies. This meant that millions of women were encouraged to work in industry and take over jobs previously done by men. Both world wars were similar in these ways because most of the men went to war. Nearly 19 million women held jobs during world was 2. Many of these women were already working before the war. Only three million new female workers
The accuracy of Rosie the Riveter was in The Saturday Evening Post in 1943. The propanga by Norman Rockwell portrays a “muscular Rosie taking a sandwich break, with her feet resting on a copy of Hitler's Mein Kampf, while her riveting gun is temporarily idle.” “This image of Rosie was hypothetical, based on Michelangelo's Isaiah from the Sistine Chapel, and the model was not a riveter, but a dental hygienist.”(Strobel,3). At the posting of
During the Great War and the huge amount of men that were deployed created the need to employ women in hospitals, factories, and offices. When the war ended the women would return home or do more traditional jobs such as teaching or shop work. “Also in the 1920s the number of women working raised by fifty percent.” They usually didn’t work if they were married because they were still sticking to the role of being stay at home moms while the husband worked and took care of the family financially. But among the single women there was a huge increase in employment. “Women were still not getting payed near as equally as men and were expected to quit their jobs if they married or pregnant.” Although women were still not getting payed as equally it was still a huge change for the women's