Rosie The Riveter Argument

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Last night I was cleaning the house while my husband was still at work, I asked both of my children if they could help me with a few of the chores around the house. Reasonable question, right? Straight away my daughter dropped her Barbie’s and ran towards me grabbing the nearest cloth available. I looked to my right, my son had not moved. Playing on his PS3, he didn’t even look up. I’m not even sure if he heard me.
And that’s when I realized.

He has witnessed his mother cleaning the house 24/7 (with the occasional help from my daughter) and his father working long hours at work. This routine has been consistent since he was born. It wasn’t until then that I realized the impact we have already made on my son’s views on gender issues.

When
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Howard Miller created the famous figure known as ‘Rosie the Riveter’. She was seen as the symbol of feminism and women’s economic power during World War II. ‘Rosie the Riveter’ was featured in posters all over the U.S boosting the morale of civilians and persuading women to join the workforce. Miller cleverly frames Rosie’s flexing arm in the center of the poster emphasizing her important position in society during the time. The woman in the advert is seen to be challenging the views of her audience (even me) as she is portraying a look of strength and power instead of smiling and looking pretty which is the usual expectation of women. Interestingly the woman is placed on the left of the image while her flexed arm is placed on the right hand side, making the image asymmetrical. The framing suggests motion and action towards the issue, persuading women similar to you and I to join the workforce and to work hard when our men were off fighting! Clever, ay. The image is further reinforced by the exclamatory emphatic tone in the slogan “We Can Do …show more content…
Wait, hold on. Even when women had the same jobs as men “Female workers rarely earnt more than 50% of male wages”. (History.com Staff. 2010). So not gender equality just yet. In fact, it got worse.

It didn’t take long for women to get pushed aside and forced back into the house doing domestic tasks yet again and getting publically discriminated against in advert worldwide (usually for cleaning or cooking supplies). As soon as the war ended in 1945, prejudice against women was at its peak. Thus due to men taking back their old jobs in the manufacturing and industrial trades.

In 1954, a cleaning company called ‘Tide’ advertised their product as ‘what women want!’ Tide could not have got it more wrong! Tide’s advert mirrors the body language of Rosie the Riveter’s “We can do it!’ advert in 1943. Here is the bad part. Embrace yourselves! Instead of the flexed arm representing the independence of women, this time the woman’s arm represents the domestic tasks women are expected to do. The woman is desperately clinging onto the cleaning product because it is traditionally a woman’s dream! Great. Have you ever looked that happy while holding Cillit bang? (Ajax,vanish,windex) Have you ever dazed into the future excited for the day full of cleaning? You and me both. But, the woman in the advert disagrees with

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