The Thinking 

The Normal Rosies of World War II

May 25, 2012


[October 1942. Inglewood, California. North American Aviation drill operator. Photo by Alfred Palmer]

MUCH HAS been made in history books of the contributions of “Rosie the Riveter,” the female armaments worker who kept the factories going during World War II. Feminists often suggest that women so loved working in factories that they never wanted to return home. Rosie the Riveter is a symbol of female liberation. Anything, even welding sheets of metal, is of course preferable to running a home.

However, look at this charming picture of a female drill operator in 1942. There is nothing masculine about her. She feels no need to dress like a man or — even to hold a drill like a man. (Good grief, I hope she survived the war with two hands.) She looks serious and dedicated — and utterly out of place. Most of all, she is not puffed up with some imaginary inflation of her job. When the war was over, I bet she never picked up a drill again.


               — Comments —

Marky Mark writes:

I saw a documentary about ‘Rosie’ on the History Channel some years ago. While the host and narrator put forth the standard, feminist claptrap about WWII jobs emancipating women from the homes, they still let some truth slip through. They interviewed an old woman who’d actually been ‘Rosie the Riveter’ in real life; she’d worked in a factory helping the war effort. What she had to say had NOTHING to do with what the feminists typically say.

Why did she and thousands of other women work in the war plants? One, there was no one else to do the job, because all able bodied men had gone off to fight the war. Two, they did it to help our boys; they did it to give them what they needed to fight the war. Finally, they worked to give them the best weapons and ammunition they could so they could win the war as quickly as possible. This old lady said that they wanted their men back home, and that working in the factories was their way of helping them do so.

What was interesting was HOW this woman said these things. She didn’t complain about it, but I didn’t get the sense that she had enjoyed her time in the factory. I got the impression that, like everyone else in those days, she was simply doing her patriotic duty.

Lawrence Auster writes:

And what about the fetching way she’s dressed–it looks like neat sports clothes rather than workers coveralls. I wonder if women really dressed like this in factories?

Laura writes:

This is, I believe, a publicity photo taken for the Office of War Information, so it’s romanticized. More photos can be found here.

Even so, the men and women in the photos don’t have the big, narcissistic smiles you almost always see in PR images today. She’s not saying, “Gee, look at me!!!!”


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