Historical Events  Art
We can do it!


Not smiling

Does Rosie look different?

Rosie, the distinguished mascot from the 1943 US "We can Do It!" war poster, seems different today to some people who are experiencing this as an MMDE. 

She's actually called "Rosie the Riveter". People are reporting they remember her smiling, and with a bigger arm muscle than is seen in the poster today.

The war effort required women to work on what was traditionally the work of men, so the character was created by the government - along with her own song and movie! - to encourage solidarity and boost performance.

Millions of women

The US was still recovering from the depression, and with the threat to it steadily coming closer throughout the outbreak in Europe, it became clear the maximum workforce possible was required.

Surprisingly, the poster was not actually widely seen during World War 2 but received a resurgence in the 1980's with the growth of the feminism movement. People just assumed it must have been known to everyone during the war, but in fact it was only used internally in the Westinghouse factories in February 1943, and aimed at making the women who were already working there work harder. The poster was one of a series produced at Westinghouse to boost morale by J. Howard Miller.

There is controversy surrounding who the actually woman in the image is. Geraldine Hoff Doyle claimed for years that it was her, until in 2015 Naomi Parker said in fact it was her, when she was 20 years old. Neither can be categorically confirmed as the model.

Post war womens life changed forever

Once women had been empowered this way, the pre-war social norms were seen as antiquated. Many point to this liberation as part of the womens movement which came to a head in the 1960's and ultimately led to the equal womens rights laws we see today.

Well done Rosie!