‘Rosie The Riveter’ Iconicized The American Women Who Truly Fought Fascism

By Kimberly Bloom Jackson

This Memorial Day, as we honor all those who have served and sacrificed on our behalf, let us not forget the American women who fought on the home front during World War II, and whose efforts ultimately helped us defeat the horrors of real fascism. It all started with a fictional gal named “Rosie the Riveter.”

A Tale of Two Rosies
Whenever we hear the name Rosie the Riveter, we tend to think of Westinghouse artist J. Howard Miller’s popular image of a spirited “We Can Do It” WWII-era woman, with her hair wrapped in a white polka-dotted red scarf, rolled up sleeves, and flexed bicep.

But this originally nameless 1942 rendering, part of an early government effort to rally badly needed American female workers, was never intended to be “Rosie.” Our modern Rosie association came about in the 1980s, after the feminist movement adopted the image as a symbol of female empowerment. Today, the icon appears on everything from coffee mugs to beach towels.

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