Propaganda & Mass Persuasion: Images of Women in World War II

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Images of Women in World War II

Maureen Honey's article Remembering Rosie:Advertising Images of Women in World War II is an interesting example of propaganda at work. This article focuses the changing images of women in World War II. It is interesting to see that at the start of the war by the direction of the OWI propaganda was aimed at getting women into the workforce to help keep the economy stable with images and advertising bombarding newspapers, and magazines depicting Rosie the Riveter, the woman at work. Women were told that they were capable of doing work that was non-domestic, work typically done by men for example operating heavy machinery and working in factories, yet this all changed towards the end of the war when advertising came to declare that the proper place for the woman was back in the home. Propaganda at the end of the war aimed to direct women back to the home and men back to work, and many women believed the new direction of propaganda and left the work place. In such a short period in time women advanced by the cause of propaganda and then propaganda changed its direction to take that all away.


Blogger A. Mattson said...

Very nice images and a thoughtful post.

It is important to understand how the government used traditional ideas about women to move women in two opposite directions, in and out of the home. It was an amazing feat on the one hand, on the other, many of these women needed very little coaxing because the war work paid so well. The power of propaganda on top of the power of self-interest.

The image you have chosen is one of the most famous images of Rosie the riveter. It was created by Norman Rockwell who was one of the greatest American Illustrators of the 20th century. This image with its mix of masculine and feminine chartacteristics really exemplifies the ambivalence, the confusion of ideas about women and work during the war. What was feminine? What was masculine in a world at war?

3/13/2006 10:40 PM  

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