The Significance Of Rosie The Riveters' Existence
Our country’s history contains many unique and fascinating stories. Some are sad, involving many deaths of innocent people and soldiers who fought for our country and its citizens. Others tell major life changing points in our country that bring joy to its people, like the Civil Rights Act of 1964, when segregation had finally ended and America’s people could be freely united. And then there are specific people, or figures, who had a large positive impact on people and their views, and are still commonly recognized in modern times. They were significant beings who helped to make a difference in our country and were influential to their followers. One of those popular figures was Rosie the Riveter.
Rosie was created to encourage women to join the workforce during World War 2. Her iconic toned figure with her caption, “We Can Do It!” sparked a new, individual flame in the lives of millions of women. Women sought out to become ‘Rosies’ themselves, and joined the U.S aircraft industry. Groups such as the WASPS and WAVES were created and known for their tasks of ferrying planes, transporting cargo, aerial practice, and providing support as naval reservists. Women were not seen as strong and independent figures in the past. The fact that Rosie was flexing her arm and held a confident posture was a subtle message that women had just as much capability of contributing to forces outside the home as men did. She served as a propaganda campaign, and industries like the munitions used her as an illustration to draw the attention of women who wanted to join the workforce. By 1943, four years after the war had begun, women made up 65% of the industry’s whole workforce. Rosie was the ‘It’ girl, and the most successful and popular image to showcase working women throughout the World War 2 era.
With such an ideal and exemplary figure like Rosie, comes inquiries about her. One commonly asked question is: Who is her true identity? The question poses multiple possible remarks, and does not contain a simple answer. It was believed for many years that Rosie was inspired by a woman named Geraldine Hoff Doyle. She was from Michigan, and had a job in a Navy machine shop during the war. However, other people said that Rosie was Rose Will Monroe. The claims made sense considering how their names were nearly identical and Rose worked as a riveter at the Willow Run Bomber Plant, located near Detroit. However, the best tied relation Rosie had, and the one that had the most credible claims, was with Naomi Parker Fraley. She was pictured while working in a machine shop at the Naval Air Station in Alameda, California. In the photo, which was taken in 1942, Naomi was wearing a familiar polka-dotted bandana.
Rosie continued to do her job long after World War 2 ended. Although women were beckoned to aid the country during the war, the call was not meant to be permanent, and have women leave their jobs after the war was over. Those who kept their occupations received less pay than their male counterparts, and were demoted to encourage the trend that they were no longer needed and it was time to return home. But no amount of reduced pay and demoted positions could take away what the women had represented themselves as in the war; they were powerful people who could no longer be deemed ‘inferior’ to men. Rosie’s existence encouraged women to go out of their comfort zone and participate in activities that society had told them was wrong to do all their lives, and they now craved to do more of it. The riveter gal was like the little voice inside women’s heads to keep fighting, but not in a war: Keep fighting to expand their identities as humans who can bring change to the country. There was even a song created by Redd Evans and John Jacob Loeb in 1943, called “Rosie the Riveter”. Norman Rockwell drew his own version of Rosie, and his illustration featured on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post in 1943. His depiction of Rosie showed her being more muscular and in a blue jumpsuit. She had a red bandana in her hair and was eating a sandwich. Norman scrawled ‘Rosie’ on the lunch box of the woman, enabling Rosie the Riveter to be placed in America’s memory and recognition.
The significance of Rosie’s existence is a fascinating story. She is a prime example of how women can arise and make a stand for themselves. She is no doubt one of the most influential figures for so many people in history. Despite not knowing her official matriarch, it is safe to say she was created based on all women. Her importance affected those during her birth and after her time, passing down the message that men can not be seen as superior over women. She opens up the steps to eliminating gender discrimination and making equal pay for women. There will never be an iconic figure that brought so much change like her.