Rosie the Riveter: Labor Icon

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Rosie stitching This year for Labor Day (US) we are taking a look at some of the awesome crafts inspired by Rosie the Riveter. She is such an inspiring image and still looks great at 67! Rosie the Riveter is a character from the WWII era (early 1940′s) in the US. During this time most of the male labor force was at war, creating a labor shortage in the US. Women began to step into non-traditional jobs, such as manufacturing munitions, to replace the men and support the war effort. The character of Rosie was based on a real woman named Rose Will Monroe, who worked as a riveter at the Willow Run Aircraft Factory in Ypsilanti, Michigan. She was asked to star in some films and posters made to encourage women to take on the demanding work in factories. A song, “Rosie the Riveter” by Kay Kyser accompanied the films.
Rosie Rosie candle Rosie tattoo

The most famous image of Rosie is the one on the “We Can Do It” poster. It is still a powerful image today, and reminds us all that women (and men) have the ability to survive and thrive, no matter how hard the situation becomes. It’s the combination of toughness, fun, and femininity that makes Rosie so appealing. She reminds women that they can be both strong and feminine, and tackle the most challenging of obstacles. The bright colors and graphic style make this Rosie image fun to craft and fabulous to see. Another iconic Rosie image, the painting by Norman Rockwell, sold at auction for nearly $5 million in 2002.

Norman Rockwell

Happy Labor Day! WE CAN DO IT!

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2 Comments

  1. batzilla says:

    I remember someone I knew doing a paper on this – apparently there’s some discussion about whether the We Can Do It woman is supposed to be Rosie when the artist first created her:
    http://www.docspopuli.org/articles/RosieTheRiveter.html
    And there’s a song about Rosie:
    http://www.pophistorydig.com/?p=877
    So interesting – I had no idea there was so much material about Rosie on the web – and there are several very good documentaries I’m now going to put on my Netflicks list.

    What I had no idea about – from photos on that first website – was that female political candidates were starting to use the We Can Do It image for some of their signs. It’s such a great iconic image, I can understand the draw – but it’s still odd to find it photoshopped that way.

    Thanks for the post – I love to learn more about these kind of images!

  2. batgirl says:

    Wow, thanks for all the additional info! Rosie is really fun to research, isn’t she?

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