"And how should I presume?"

The unsophisticated ramblings of an unenlightened twenty-something who hopes to, one day, change the world.


Cast of characters:

The Anna to my Elsa (and tag)
The Michael to my Wendy Darling (and tag)
The Wash to my Zoe (and tag)
The John to my Sherlock
The Keladry to my Alanna
The Mal to my Zoe


This Journal Is QUILTBAG Positive

This Journal Is Sex Work Positive

This Journal Is Body Positive

This Journal Is Positive

Posts I Like
Folks I Follow
Posts tagged "feminism"

historicallyaccuratesteve:

etclibrarian:

pussreboots:

socimages:

Myth-making and the “we can do it!” poster.

By Gwen Sharp, PhD.

A polished version of this post was published in Contexts. You can download it here.

Most of our readers are probably familiar with the now-iconic “We Can Do It!” poster associated with Rosie the Riveter and the movement of women into the paid industrial workforce during World War II.

It is, by this point, so recognizable that it is often parodied or appropriated for a variety of uses (including selling household cleaners). The image is widely seen as a symbol of women’s empowerment and a sign of major gender transformations that occurred during the 1940s.

In their article, “Visual Rhetoric Representing Rosie the Riveter: Myth and Misconception in J. Howard Miller’s ‘We Can Do It!’ Poster,” James Kimble and Lester Olson argue that our current interpretations of the poster don’t necessarily align with how it was seen at the time.

While the poster is often described as a government recruiting item (Kimble and Olson give many examples in the article of inaccurate attributions from a variety of sources), it was, in fact, created by J. Howard Miller as part of a series of posters for the Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company — the Westinghouse logo is clearly visible just under the woman’s arm, and the badge on her shirt collar is the badge employees wore on the plant floor, including an employee number. The War Production Co-ordinating Committee was an internal Westinghouse committee, similar to those created by many companies during the war, not a government entity.

The assumption of current viewers of the image is usually that it was meant to recruit women into the workforce, or to rally women in general — an early example of girl power marketing, if you will — and was widely displayed. But the audience was actually only Westinghouse employees. The company commissioned artists to create posters to be hung in Westinghouse plants for specific periods of time; this poster specifically says, “Post Feb. 15 to Feb. 28″ [1943] in small font on the lower left. There’s no evidence that it was ever made available to the public more broadly. For that matter, the poster doesn’t identify her as “Rosie,” and it’s not clear that at the time she would have been immediately identifiable to viewers as “Rosie the Riveter”.

The image that was more widely seen, and is often conflated with the “We Can Do It!” poster, was Norman Rockwell’s May 29, 1943, cover for the Saturday Evening Post (second above).

Here, the woman is clearly linked to the idea of Rosie the Riveter, through both the name on her lunchbox and the  equipment she’s holding. She is more muscular than the woman in Miller’s poster, she’s dirty, and her foot is standing on a copy of Hitler’s Mein Kampf. Rockwell’s image presents the woman as a vital part of the war effort; her work helps defeat the Nazis. The image also includes fewer details to make her look conventionally attractive than Miller’s, where the woman has emphasized eyelashes and visibly painted fingernail.

Most interestingly, Kimble and Olson question the female empowerment message presumed to be the point of the “We Can Do It!” poster. We see the poster on its own, through the lens of a narrative about World War II in which housewives left the kitchen in droves to work in factories. But Westinghouse workers would have seen it in a different context, as one of a series of posters displayed in the plant, with similar imagery and text. When seen as just one in a series, rather than a unique image, Kimble and Olson argue that the collective “we” in “We can do it!” wouldn’t have been women, but Westinghouse employees, who were used to seeing such statements posted in employee-access-only areas of the plant.

Of course, having a woman represent a default factory employee is noteworthy. But our reading of the poster as a feminist emblem partially rests on the idea that this female worker is calling out encouragement to other women. The authors, however, point out a much less empowering interpretation if you think of the poster not in terms of feminism, but in terms of social class and labor relations:

…Westinghouse used “We Can Do It!” and Miller’s other posters to encourage women’s cooperation with the company’s relatively conservative concerns and values at a time when both labor organizing and communism were becoming active controversies for many workers… (p. 537)

…by addressing workers as “we,” the pronoun obfuscated sharp controversies within labor over communism, red-baiting, discrimination, and other heartfelt sources of divisiveness. (p. 550)

One of the major functions of corporate war committees was to manage labor and discourage any type of labor disputes that might disrupt production. From this perspective, images of happy workers expressing support for the war effort and/or workers’ abilities served as propaganda that encouraged workers to identify with one another and management as a team; “patriotism could be invoked to circumvent strikes and characterize workers’ unrest as un-American” (p. 562).

And, as Kimble and Olson illustrate, most of Miller’s posters included no women at all, and when they did, emphasized conventional femininity and the domestic sphere (such as a heavily made-up woman waving to her husband as he left for work).

Of course, today the “We Can Do It!” poster is seen as a feminist icon, adorning coffee cups, t-shirts, calendars, and refrigerator magnets (I have one). Kimble and Olson don’t explain when and how this shift occurred — when the image went from an obscure piece of corporate war-time propaganda, similar to many others, to a widely-recognized pop cultural image of female empowerment. But they make a convincing argument that our current perceptions of the image involve a significant amount of historical myth-making that helps to obscure the discrimination and opposition many women faced in the paid workforce even during the height of the war effort.

The article on which this post is based appears in Rhetoric & Public Affairs 9(4): 533-570, 2006.

Gwen Sharp is an associate professor of sociology at Nevada State College. You can follow her on Twitter at @gwensharpnv.

The rise of Rosie the Riveter to feminist icon can be credited to the documentary film The Life and Times of Rosie the Riveter (1980). But I suspect that Rosie became one of these word of mouth memes in the various factories around the United States where women were working. Before I had seen the documentary my grandmother had told me about Rosie the Riveter, even though she didn’t work for Westinghouse or in Richmond; she worked for General Electric throughout WWII as a typist and fax machine operator.

This looks like something
historicallyaccuratesteve
would be interested in, or may have already seen.

I don’t remember if I’ve reblogged this before or not, but it’s never a bad time to debunk some myths.

(via mpreg-tony)

zoewashburne:

What were your inspirations, especially since [Tauriel] is a completely created character; what brought you to bring that power because there were a lot of ways you could have played that role that would have been along the lines of what we usually see for a girl in an action movie where she’s not in the adventure, she’s the prize…?

 

(via hobbitually)

Most mass murderers do not go from zero to 60. Rodger made escalating assaults on women (splashing coffee on them, attempting to shove them off a ledge) before his killing spree. Both Cho and Justin-Jinich’s murderer harassed women before they killed anyone. When such acts go unnoticed and unpunished — because we expect men to harass women, and it’s not outrageous or even noteworthy when they do — they can become stepping-stones to more conspicuous and less socially acceptable acts of violence.

Raina Lipsitz

Interesting to note that while a history of animal cruelty is widely accepted to be a link with becoming a serial killer, the link between cruelty towards women and killing women is still up for debate. If a guy abuses a cat and then shoots women we say "we should have seen it coming that guy was nuts", but if abuses women and then shoots women we say "we had no way of seeing it coming that guy was a perfectly polite, kind and wonderful human 

(via marxisforbros)

(via coffeebuddha)

jon-snow:

god bless sdcc

(via misandry-mermaid)

gehayi:

youmightbeamisogynist:

naamahdarling:

mythosidhe:

Although I have to point out that there was a piece of speculative science fiction called The Blazing World published by one Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 1666, slightly predating Mary Shelley.

This is the thing. Women have been doing awesome shit since there was awesome shit to do, we’ve BEEN THERE, if anyone bothered to look.

Oh, they looked. And then maliciously and willfully erased us from the books to keep anyone else from “getting ideas.”

Hell, the first named author in history? Enheduanna, a Sumerian high priestess, poet and lyricist. She’s known as the Shakespeare of Sumerian literature.

(via attackofthequasars)

Do you think that your 16 year old daughter hasn’t masturbated already? Like, do you really think there’s anything in that scene that this chick hasn’t already tried when the lights go out at night, or in the bathroom, or in the tub, or with the shower head or something like that? I’m telling you, man, I’m not teaching this broad anything new. If I were to create a rating system, I wouldn’t even put murder right at the top of the chief offenses. I would put rape right at the top, and assault against women. Because it’s so insanely overused and insulting how much it’s overused in movies as a plot device, a woman in peril. That, to me, is offensive, yet that shit skates.
Kevin Smith (director) on the ridiculousness of movies about sex receiving NC-17 ratings while extremely violent movies get by with R ratings.  (via idioticteen)

(via wixcraft)

Seriously, women make 77 cents to a man’s dollar, but own only 36% as much wealth – and the wealth gap between men and women has widened even as the income gap slowly narrows. Women who never married own 6 percent of the wealth of their bachelor brothers. It gets worse: black and Latino never-married women own a penny for every dollar of wealth controlled by men of their race. And of course, women make up almost two out of three adults living in poverty. Since the capacity to make big political donations is a factor of having disposable wealth, not just income, the wealth gap between men and women is the crucial factor behind the donor gap. That’s the main reason “why women don’t give.”

princess-neville:

girls being kept out of the sciences and pushed into the humanities; the humanities being valued less in our society than the sciences; and the humanities and sciences being looked at as stark opposites that couldn’t possibly be enjoyed for the same reasons are all problems that need to in some degree be tackled together 

FUN HISTORY FACT

it used to be that the arts and humanities (at least in western cultures) were GIRLY THINGS FOR GIRLS, but at one point they started being masculinized so like poets would say that apollo was inspiring them or whatever instead of, you know, the all-female muses

MEANWHILE AT THE SAME TIME

science was always considered a masculine art, but the “scientific muse” became a woman around the time the lit muse became a man

and then it reversed again after women started doing things like hosting scientific salons and shit

science and the humanities have always been gendered, what gender they are has changed over time

and it’s always been weighted in favor of what men are thought to be best at at the time

(via aquietrevolutionary)

theinbetweennightmare:

Please, sit down. Sit down!

Sexism in Hollywood:

On the set of the Hollywood blockbuster movie Die Hard, Rickman’s principles ground a day’s shooting to an expensive halt. Not through temper tantrum or artistic crisis, but because he refused point blank to throw Bonnie Bedelia to the floor. Cast as the archly sophisticated terrorist Hans Gruber against Bruce Wills’ gun-happy hero, the script called for Rickman to perpetuate a degree of violence on the actress that he considered to be both offensive and inappropriate.

”A big victory was won on that film set in terms of not conforming to the stereotype on the page,” Rickman explains. ”My character was very civilised in a strange sort of way and just wouldn’t have behaved like that. Nor would Bonnie’s character, a self-possessed career woman, have allowed him to. It was a stereotype—the woman as eternal victim—that they hadn’t even thought about. Basically, they wanted a reason for her shirt to burst open. We talked our way around it—her shirt still burst open, but at least she stayed upright.”

—Alan Rickman, interviewed by Lesley White, ‘’The Leading Man’’, British GQ Magazine, July 1992: 74 (x)

(via goldenfacedbastard)

stfuprolifers:

FUCK YES, MASSACHUSETTS.

rabbitglitter:

There is a difference between being a White Feminist and being a part of ~*White Feminism*~.

The former:

You’re a Feminist. You are White.

The latter:

Your Feminism is White-centric and ignores the specialized issues of Women of Color.

(via sogrump)

Men who are progressive, profeminist, or allies to women — we have to constantly check ourselves. We have to be open and listen to women and sometimes respond by taking a backseat and not encroaching on female space in ways that are kind of natural to us. It’s so integrated into who we are as men: to take center stage, to lead, to be out front, to not really understand the power dynamic that’s at play. I think it’s really important for all of us men who are progressive and who are working to eradicate sexism and all the other social ills out there to be a lot more cognizant of our presence in these circles and spaces.
Byron Hurt in an interview with Bitch Magazine being an actual ally (via misandry-mermaid)

(via misandry-mermaid)