Propaganda & Mass Persuasion: Rosie the Riveter

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Rosie the Riveter

The role of women was significantly changed with the mobilization of women into the workforce during WWII. Women were needed to fill men's jobs while they were off fighting the war. They were trained for free to perform jobs in shipyards and factories.

According to Maureen Honey:
"The campaign to attract women into war production was part of a drive to weld the home front into an economic army, well disciplined, highly motivated by patriotism, and willing to make sacrifices for the good of American soldiers. This overriding propaganda goal subsumed the campaign to recruit women and largely shaped its direction: this was a goal, moreover, for which traditional ideas about women were well suited."

In the film "Rosie the Riveter" it was astounding to see how propaganda was helped motivate women to enter the workforce, yet once the war was over it promoted the role of the homemaker. The woman was supposed to give the soldier, who fought for the good of the country his job back. It was the era of the feminine mystique where the role of the homemaker and caretaker was more important. This was unfortunate because many of the women grew accustomed to the higher wages and steady work and due to lack of work, could not find jobs. The role of the feminine woman is still present today.


Blogger A. Mattson said...

A good post and a great quote.

You have hit on the key point here: traditional ideas about women were very useful in justifying non-traditional behavior in an exceptional situation: Give up your traditional gender roles for the duration in order to defend your traditional place in the home. The reality was that most women couldn't afford to stay home anyway. While there were images of strong working woman that have since been coopted by modern feminists they were almost always balanced by the images of traditional motherhood, home and family.

4/11/2007 9:04 PM  

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