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Rosie The Riveter, The Popuplar Image During World War Ii

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Images always seem to make arguments to either narrow down to a specific idea or ideas or even point of views to be able to influence others that may be viewing, whether it’d be through a mural, photograph, or even a propaganda. For instance, it’s transparent the image, that’s used as a propaganda, “Rosie the Riveter” by Norman Rockwell; her physique, the rivet gun placed on her lap, and the American flag spread widely across as the background that Rockwell is trying to argue that women are able to partake in the workforce for strength, independency, and as a patriotic duty.


Rosie the Riveter was a popular image during the World War II, that actually started off as a song in the early 1940’s by John Jacob Loeb and Redd Evans (Rosie the Riveter). It represented all of the women working which is why she’s referred to as the “riveter”, it was used to describe women working in factories in an arms industry which manufactured and sold weapons (Rosie the Riveter). This image along with the other Rosie the Riveter images from other artists was developed to become a propaganda to get women to start working while the men were at war (Rosie the Riveter). The propaganda overall was made for everyone and in context of women working while the war was going on, in uncommon circumstances that was being advocated (Rosie the Riveter).

The original Rosie the Riveter that was created in 1943 by the artist Norman Rockwell, was Mary Doyle Keefe, whom he actually found to be a very beautiful woman when first discovering her (Langer). Rockwell had been looking for ways to take part in the war effort, which led him to create this image by using Mary Doyle Keefe as his model to gather some inspiration (Langer). While gathering his inspiration from his model Mary herself for this famous painting and although he did find the model Mary to be very beautiful, he instead decided to take that given inspiration and exceeded the illustrations of Rosie the Riveter by illustrating her the complete opposite of what a stereotypical woman looks like, especially during this time (Langer).

The image argues how it would heavily provide strength for women joining the workforce. For instance, with Rosie the Riveter’s physique she was well-built by the way Rockwell excessively emphasized her figure, broad shouldered, with a muscular body that appeared unrealistic of the stereotypical woman, that flexed both of her muscular looking arms. From a syntagmatic level, it’s aware that the way that her body is built, in such a strong form from at least the neck down to the feet, that it seems to allow the recognition that women can be just as tough as men especially physically. One may instead assume that women must actually need to be built in a very man-like way to join the workforce from this image, but really her physique just goes as far as to instead insist on showing and encouraging women that they are able to partake in the workforce because they too can be just as strong as men without the same appearance as them.

Not only does her physique give off that strong physical ability, but strength seems to also be shown through the confidence in the way her physique is. The confidence is shown in her extremely firm physique and upright, stiff posture with the way that she’s sitting up in what appears to be her work outfit. This shows that as a woman not only is she just confident in general within herself, but that she is confident specifically in being capable of working, especially considering what she appears to be wearing, a work outfit. It’s clear here that as a woman being part of the workforce, that it provides that bold power to be able to take control and advantage of their own life, such as having that ability to work. As a result of the way her physique is built, it’s concluded that confidence is also what gives this woman her strength which is the ability to acknowledge that she is just as capable to do the same work that a man can.

Strength doesn’t appear to be the only thing that seems to be provided for a woman taking part in the workforce from this propaganda, it also shows that it would provide independency. The image recognizes independency through showing the rivet gun that is placed on top of her lap. The rivet gun clearly implies that she’s able to take on a man’s role or job all without any help, considering that it is on her own lap, it is only her in this image, and she is wearing some type of safety mask and glasses for work. The rivet gun is overall implying that she is capable of being self-sufficient in handling her own labor which allows her to be independent, revealing that other women can have that independency as well.

Beside the rivet gun that is placed on her lap seems to be a lunchbox with the name “Rosie”, as well as holding onto a sandwich, also appears to imply independency. From a paradigmatic level, it can be assumed that the lunchbox and the sandwich she’s holding that she is able to provide for herself, in ways such as being able to feed herself, possibly being able to have the financial means to provide for herself and possibly multiple other ways to be able to do so. Since she’s taking on the role and job of a man it’s also presumed that her independency for being part of the workforce allows her to take care of herself without any assistance.

In addition to strength and independency, it also suggests that joining the work force is a patriotic duty. For example, the American flag, it takes up the whole entire background of the image, being the second most notable significance, aside from Rosie. The American flag may seem to imply that if women did decide to work, it would be an honorable decision to support the country and showing that they are indeed patriotic by wanting to see their country succeed in taking jobs while men are at war.

The American flag isn’t the only thing that shows and argues that this would be a patriotic duty, the book Mein Kampf that Rosie is resting her feet on top shows it as well. This well-known book was written by Adolf Hitler and about his ideals in Nazism. It is possible that it may be insinuating that a working woman would never be seen in Hitler’s ideals which is why it could be that she’s standing her ground on this book. This can be presumed as a patriotic duty because she is resting her feet on top of the book also because it is at the very bottom of the propaganda that it may be done in support of her, a woman in America that is able to work. It’s significant overall because not only is she appearing to be superior from him and his ideals for taking on this responsibility, but showing that America is seen as superior as well proving it by displaying how patriotic she and the country as a whole are.


This propaganda overall shows that in order for America as a whole to try to convince women to try and partake in joining the workforce, there would need to be enough indication to be able to persuade them to do so. This image illustrated and depicted by Norman Rockwell, indicates exactly why they should through the strength, and independency that they gain in doing so, as well as it being a patriotic duty to help support those that were in the service. In addition to that, since jobs during the World War II had formerly only been allowed for men to partake in, they were now available for women to start doing, so in order to get them to do so it seems that they needed to develop a plan which could have led to the creation of the propaganda, “Rosie the Riveter”.

Works Cited

  • Langer, Emily. ‘Mary Doyle Keefe, Norman Rockwell’s model for ‘Rosie the Riveter,’ dies at …………92.’ The Washington Post. 23 Apr. 2015. WP Company. 15 July 2019 ………….
  • ‘Rosie the Riveter.’ Encyclopedia of Sex and Gender: Culture Society History. . ………… 10 Jul. 2019 .

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Rosie The Riveter, The Popuplar Image During World War II. (2021, October 25). GradesFixer. Retrieved November 28, 2021, from
“Rosie The Riveter, The Popuplar Image During World War II.” GradesFixer, 25 Oct. 2021,
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