It’s a compelling example of political propaganda: patriotic, convincing, confident, and strong.
“Rosie the Riveter” looks the ideal woman as she proudly pronounces “We Can Do It!” to fellow females in this 1942 World War II propaganda image. A fictional product of the U.S. government, “Rosie the Riveter” was commissioned for creation to encourage women to join the work force and aid in the war effort.
Following the Japanese bombing of Pearl
Harbor in December 1941 and the full-blown involvement of the U.S. in World War II, women were called upon to join a work force which had been severely depleted by the military draft. Because the idea of women working was unseemly and controversial, the U.S. government saw the value in launching extensive campaigns to persuade women to join the work force.
Pittsburgh artist J. Howard Miller was hired by the War Production Coordinating Committee to create a number of posters for the war effort, and “Rosie the Riveter” was his product. Miller based his “We Can Do It!” poster on a photograph taken of Michigan factory worker Geraldine Doyle.
Following Miller’s creation, other “Rosie’s” were conjured by artists of the day, most notably Norman Rockwell, whose own “Rosie” appeared on the May 29, 1943 edition of The Saturday Evening Post.
“Rosie” has come to symbolize the millions of real women who worked in America’s factories, plants, and shipyards during WWII and remains one of the most recognizable propaganda characters.
“Rosie’s” character found its way into other art forms such as music. Listen to the 1942 song, “Rosie the Riveter” by The Four Vagabonds.