Rosie The Riveter
|The mechanical fastener, the rivet|
Her name comes from the verb 'to rivet' and it means 'to fix with rivets’, which are mechanical fasteners, and it was a job in the arms industry. Nowadays she is still as famous as in the 1940s.
Rosie first appeared in a song written by 'The Four Vagabonds' during the war to motivate women to go and work in the industry.
A bit later, in 1943, John Howard-Miller painted the well-known poster 'We can do it!', which also aimed to increase women’s motivation. Rosie therefore symbolizes all the brave women who worked in arms factories. John Howard Miller was inspired by a picture of a woman working in a factory; a young lady with a red headband. He painted the portrait of a strong woman showing her muscles like a man would.
|The woman who inspired the poster|
|Naomi Parker Fraley|
|The famous poster|
The real woman, that of the picture, was Naomi Parker Fraley, a native American born in August 1921 and who died very recently, in January 2018. She worked in the Naval Air Station of Alameda, in California.
|The Smithsomian magazine|
Many years later however, in 2011, the real Rosie, Naomi Parker Fraley, discovered that she was the one on the picture, but nobody believed her.
Nevertheless, Professor Kimble, associate professor of communication and the arts at Seton Hall university in New Jersey,
investigated and arrived at the conclusion that Naomi Parker was the real Rosie. They met in 2015 and, in 2016, Kimble finally shared her story through the media. So the real person behind Rosie the Riveter was only discovered 73 years after the poster was painted! Some pieces of evidence were obvious: for example, it was proved that Doyle was still at school when the real original picture was taken.
The poster also testifies to the fact that the 1940s were an important time for women. In
fact, during the two World Wars they had to replace men at work in industries and garages,
while men were away fighting for the country. During the First World War, women replaced men in industries, but once it ended men took up their jobs again, and women were left jobless. They obviously did not feel very happy with that because they wanted to keep on working and to feel useful. When the Second World War began, they did not want to repeat the experience but were obliged to work. After this second war, women did a lot of propaganda and demonstrations to keep their work and to have a role in society. They did not want to stay at home waiting for their husbands to come back. Rosie The Riveter has been used as the symbol of female emancipation. This was a big step for feminism and women's power, and their employment rate
even increased by about 55 percent.
Nowadays Rosie remains in the collective mind. She is a really important icon in America
and a lot of famous people such as Beyoncé and Pink have re-used her picture to show their
support to the feminist cause. But it is also sometimes used to advertise their products. Anyway, this shows that Rosie continues to be famous.
Ambre Ansel, Léna Collin, Emilie Zimmermann