- Rosie the Riveter
Rosie the Riveter is a
cultural iconof the United States, representing the six million women who entered the workforcefor the first time during World War II[ [http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=20040530&slug=rosie30 Rosie's proud of her band of sisters] by Kevin Cullen, Seattle Times, May 30, 2004] cite web | title="Rosie the Riveter: Real Women Workers in World War II" (Transcript of video presentation) | author=Sheridan Harvey | url=http://www.loc.gov/rr/program/journey/rosie-transcript.html | publisher= Library of Congress| date= August 1, 2006| accessdate=2007-08-14] , many of whom worked in the manufacturing plants that produced munitionsand material. These women took the places of the male workers who were absent fighting in the Pacific and European theaters. The character is now considered a feminist icon in the US, and a herald of women's economic power to come. Rosie and her slogan"We Can Do It!" were featured on posters, magazines, and more.__TOC__
Rosie the Riveter was most closely associated with a real woman, Rose Will Monroe, who was born in
Pulaski County, Kentucky[ [http://www.kdla.ky.gov/resources/countyomonth/pulaski.htm Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives - County of the Month: Pulaski County, Kentucky] ] [ [http://www.pulaskispast.com/Military/WW2/Rosie.htm Pulaski's Past Historical Preservation Society - The Original "Rosie the Riveter" Rose Will (Leigh) Monroe] ] [ [http://assembly.state.ny.us/member_files/009/20070516/ Raia Honors "Rosie The Riveters" For Their Efforts During WW II New York State Assembly] ] in 1920 and moved to Michiganduring World War II. She worked as a riveter at the Willow Run Aircraft Factory in Ypsilanti, Michigan, building B-29and B-24bombers for the U.S. Army Air Forces. Monroe was asked to star in a promotional film about the war effort at home, and was featured in a postercampaign. The song "Rosie the Riveter" by Redd Evansand John Jacob Loebwas released in early 1943, and Monroe happened to best fit the description of the worker depicted in the song.cite news | url=http://www.rootsweb.com/~kypulask/Military/WW2/Rosie.htm | title=`Rosie the Riveter' star dead at 77 | publisher= Associated Press| date= June 2 1997| accessdate=2007-08-14] Rosie went on to become perhaps the most widely recognized icon of that era. The films and posters she appeared in were used by the U.S. governmentto encourage women to go to work in support of the war effort.
According to the "Encyclopedia of American Economic History", the "Rosie the Riveter" movement increased the number of working American women to 20 million by 1944, a 57% increase from 1940. (In 1942, just between the months of January and July, the estimates of the proportion of jobs that would be "acceptable" for women was raised by employers from 29 to 85%.)Fact|date=August 2007 Conditions were sometimes very poor and pay was not always equal—the average man working in a wartime plant was paid $54.65 per week, while women were paid $31.21 per week. [cite web | url=http://boxer.senate.gov/whm/time_3.cfm | title=Women's History Timeline 1900-1949 | author=Boxer, Barbara | accessdate=2007-08-14] Nonetheless, women quickly responded to Rosie the Riveter, who convinced them they had a patriotic duty to enter the workforce. Some claim that she forever opened up the work force for women, but others dispute that point, noting that many women were discharged after the war and their jobs given to returning servicemen.Fact|date=August 2007
After the war, the "Rosies" and the generations that followed them knew that working in the factories was in fact a possibility for women, even though they did not reenter the job market in such large proportions again until the 1970s—by that time factory employment was in decline all over the country.Fact|date=August 2007
October 14 2000, the Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Parkwas opened in Richmond, California, site of four Kaiser shipyards, where thousands of "Rosies" from around the country worked (although ships at the Kaiser yards were not riveted, but rather welded). [cite web | url=http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/facility/richmond-ca.htm | title=Richmond Shipyards | publisher=GlobalSecurity.org | accessdate=2007-08-14] Over 200 former Rosies attended the ceremony. [cite news | url=http://www.mishalov.com/Rosie_the_riveter.html | title='Rosie the Riveter' Honored in California Memorial | publisher= The New York Times| first=Patricia Leigh | last=Brown | date= October 22 2000| accessdate=2007-08-14] [cite web | title=About the Rosie the Riveter Memorial Design | url=http://www.rosietheriveter.org/memdes.htm | publisher=Rosie the Riveter Trust | accessdate=2007-08-14]
The documentary film "
The Life and Times of Rosie the Riveter" addresses the history of Rosie.
The image most iconically associated with Rosie is
J. Howard Miller's famous poster for Westinghouse, entitled "We Can Do It!", which was modeled on Michigan factory worker Geraldine Doylein 1942. [cite web | url=http://www.local602.org/LOTL/3-24-03LOTL.pdf | title=UAW Local 602 Newsletter | publisher=United Auto Workers Local 602 | date= March 24 2003| format=PDF | accessdate=2007-08-14] [cite web | url=http://www.michiganhistorymagazine.com/kids/pdfs/mhksp03c.pdf | title=The Michigan Women’s Historical Center and Hall of Fame | publisher=Michigan History for Kids magazine | date=Spring 2003 | format=PDF | accessdate=2007-08-14]
However, the picture was not meant to represent a character called Rosie the Riveter at all. Penny Colman writes that "Since the 1970s, this poster has been mistakenly labeled Rosie the Riveter and has been reprinted on posters, magazine covers, and many other items."cite book
title=Rosie the Riveter: Women Workers on the Home Front in World War II
publisher=Crown Publishers, Inc. New York.
Norman Rockwellused the Rosie name for his cover for the May 29 1943" Saturday Evening Post", which depicted a different model (Mary Doyle Keefe). [cite web
title="Rosie the Riveter"
note=Note the copy of
Mein Kampfunder her feet] [cite web
title=Saturday Evening Post cover
url=http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/treasures/images/at0071.2s.jpg] It is not clear whether Rockwell had seen the Miller poster, but he admitted that "I made a mistake in the detail that people will be calling me down for. The cover shows Rosie with goggles on "and" a risinglass protective shield." Keefe was paid $5 a day for two mornings' sittings. On
May 22 2002, Rockwell's painting of Rosie the Riveter was auctioned by Sotheby'sfor $4,959,500.
According to Colman's "Rosie the Riveter", there was also, very briefly, a "Wendy the Welder" based on Janet Doyle, a worker at the Kaiser Richmond Liberty Shipyards in California.
In the 1960s, Hollywood actress
Jane Withersgained fame as "Josephine the Plumber," a character in a long-running and popular series of television commercials for "Comet" cleansing powder that lasted into the 1970s. This character was based on the original "Rosie" character and thus owes much to exemplary women's efforts in the traditional male workplace. [cite web
work=I Remember JFK
title= Josephine the Plumber
July 30 2007
More recent cultural references include a character called "Rosie" in the video game "
BioShock", armed with a rivet gun, and a Rosie the Riveter action figurine by Accoutrements, although this is loosely based on Miller's anonymous poster, rather than Rockwell's painting.
United States home front during World War II
*Land Girls - the British equivalent
Ronnie the Bren Gun Girl- the Canadian equivalent
Women in the workforce
*Bornstein, Anna 'Dolly' Gillan. Woman Welder/ Shipbuilder in World War II. Winnie the Welder History Project. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe College.
February 16 2005.
*Bourke-White, Margaret. "Women In Steel: They are Handling Tough Jobs In Heavy Industry". "Life".
August 9 1943.
*Bowman, Constance. "Slacks and Calluses - Our Summer in a Bomber Factory." Smithsonian Institution. Washington D.C. 1999.
*Cabanis, Helen. "Woman Riveter in World War II." Rosie the Riveter Collection, Rose State College, Eastern Oklahoma Country Regional History. Center. [Rosie the Riveter Collection, Rose State College]
March 16 2003.
*Hresko, Mary and Mary Vincher Shiner. "Women Workers in World War II." [http://www.clpgh.org/locations/pennsylvania/ww2/ww29.html]
May 21 2001.
*Meacham, Clarice. "Woman Welder and Riveter during World War II." Personal Interview.
December 13 2004.
* [http://www.loc.gov/today/cyberlc/feature_wdesc.php?rec=3350 Library of Congress Webcast]
* [http://www.rosietheriveter.org/ Rosie the Riveter World War II / Home Front National Historical Park]
* [http://www.rosietheriveter.net American Rosie the Riveter Association]
* [http://www.harcourtschool.com/newsbreak/rosie.html A Real-Life "Rosie the Riveter"]
* [http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/2179038448/in/set-72157603671370361/ Another Real-Life "Rosie" from the Library of Congress' image set]
* [http://www.docspopuli.org/articles/RosieTheRiveter.html "Rosie the Riveter" image is not the same as "We Can Do It!"]
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
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