Throughout World War II women were introduced to the workforce where they supplied the troops with materials needed. Rosie the Riveter was created in 1942 to inspire
women to join and enjoy working. Designed by J. Howard Miller, the idea of being like Rosie influenced women working in factories or labor yards during wartime to nickname themselves “Rosies”. Female employment grew by 6.5 million after Rosie was introduced because women were inspired to be like her. Miller’s design inspired other artists like Norman Rockwell whose Rosie poster is more well known than Miller’s. Rockwell’s painting of Rosie depicts muscles defined in a way to emphasize that a woman’s strength was enduring. Crystal Bridges Museum in Bentonville, Arkansas is home to the iconic Rockwell painting. Despite working men’s jobs and the high demand for labor, women were still paid less than their male counterparts. It did not take long for women to demand economic equality using Rosie as their icon.
Rosie’s appearance with a bright red and white polka dot bandana in a blue factory shirt with flexed muscles was inspirational. With the words ``We Can Do It” printed under her, Rosie the
Riveter expanded fashion standards for women and enforced female empowerment. Women’s appearances were beginning to be influenced depending on their workforce, thus safer work clothes became necessary. Using “Rosie'' as a guide, women managed to embrace overalls and pants. For safety purposes pants benefitted working women, but they were also a new fashion item for ladies. Regulations did not protect women from conditions with dangerous machinery. Metal tip shoes were established in 1943 to protect women’s feet, however, most women had to bring in their form of safety equipment. Rosie also wore floppy hats and long sleeves for different factory jobs as a precaution against unstable working conditions. Advertisements of the time appealed to women’s beauty, embracing the new femininity in the working age. The creation of Rosie proved that women could work in male-dominated fields and be independent wage earners.
Rosie the Riveter was a symbol of patriotism and strength during World War Two, but quickly became a vision for female empowerment inspiring women for the decades to come.