Thursday, June 16, 2011

Yes She Can

As much as I love pin-up girls like the winking, oopsie-my-skirt-blew-up cuties that adorned the walls and plane noses of WWII soldiers, I also have a soft spot for Rosie the Riveter. The be-headscarved lady of the now famous We Can Do It! propaganda posters encouraging women into the workforce, who looked like she could snap an Elvgren girl in two.

What I didn't know was that tough-girl Rosie's image was based on a photo of a seventeen year old hottie who worked as a metal presser in 1942 to help the war effort. Oddly enough, the girl in question, Geraldine Doyle, didn't know she was the inspiration for the poster either until she was 59 and completely by chance, happened upon a magazine article that explained Rosie's origins.

Geraldine actually packed in her factory job after two weeks, as she played the cello and feared an injury to her hands. Since then, the image of Rosie has permeated pop culture big time, becoming an eighties symbol of feminism and empowerment and so recognisable that Christina Aguilera, Pink and Beyonce have all referenced her in music videos over the last while.

I think my favourite incarnation is this Princess Leia version of the poster though. She'd make bits of the aforementioned pop tarts without a hair of her twisty Danish buns getting out of place.

While I couldn't say with certainty who'd win an arm wrestling match between Original Rosie and Leia Rosie, they'd both beat me and you hands down.


  1. This was a fab post! really enjoyed reading it and the pictures are great!

  2. She packed it in to play the cello (kinda)? Feel a bit sad now.

  3. I've seen this poster around the place loads recently...are Shell To Sea using it? I think it's a group like that anyway.
    Love the post - you're great for the oul' investigations!

  4. this is an amazing post!!!!!! I've often said I feel like I should have been born in 1940s England....and even did my thesis on women's role in world word II in Britain. Fantastic post girlie xx

  5. @ adoreabubbles - Thanks missus!

    @ Sarah - Well yeah, but on the other hand she only had to work for a few weeks in a probably not-that-pleasant factory job and still got to become an international icon!

    @ Kit Cat - Very possibly, it gets used for all sorts of protest stuff! And thanks, I do enjoy an aul investigation. Probably have Jessica Fletcher to thank for that!

    @ Miss Educator - Ooh, very cool thesis topic! I wrote a dissertation on the origins of the pin up girl in college, loved writing it.

  6. haha great post. love the princess leia poster !

    claire, x

  7. you have no idea oh much I adore this look!

  8. Alexa Chung did a really good version of that poster a while ago. I didn't know the history of the poster, interesting post!


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