Creating Rosie the Riveter: class, gender, and propaganda by Maureen Honey

By Maureen Honey

Creating Rosie the Riveter examines ads and fiction released within the Saturday night Post and True Story with a purpose to express how propaganda was once used to inspire ladies to go into the workforce.

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Extra info for Creating Rosie the Riveter: class, gender, and propaganda during World War II

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Men, on the other hand, have been considered permanent workers, responsible for supporting a family. Policies that failed to consider the postwar employment opportunities for women war workers suggest that employers and government officials operated from a perspective that deemed wage labor as merely Page 27 an adjunct to women's "real" role, which was full-time home-making. Recruiting married women into war production must have seemed to them an ideal solution to the problem of securing temporary workers.

19 Most analysts of wartime popular culture agree with this perspective and caution against the temptation to attribute more power to the media than was the case. 20 Similarly, Susan Hartmann notes that although postwar media were largely controlled by men women voluntarily consumed their products. "21 Popular culture must, to some extent, reflect the assumptions, fantasies, and values of consumers in order to be commercially successful. As John Cawelti says of popular story types: "I think we can assume that formulas become collective cultural products because they successfully articulate a pattern of fantasy that is at least acceptable to if not preferred by the cultural groups who enjoy them....

I discuss the impact of propaganda organizations on story themes with proven appeal to a middle-class audience and identify the persuasive techniques Page 17 used by advertisers to make war jobs, then homemaking, look attractive to women. Chapter 3 takes up the issue of propaganda directed at working-class women by focusing on the most successful magazine of the confessions group, True Story. Here I note the impact of class on the recruitment campaign and the limitations imposed by the confession formula on developing new images of women.

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