Rosie the Riveter, the widely-recognized name associated with the popular American slogan and poster “We Can Do It!”, inspired millions of women to fill in the labor gap during World War I. Most women joined the workforce as blue collar laborers, working in factories that produced machinery or weaponry. Rosie the Riveter is most often associated with the iconic portrait by J. Howard Miller, however, the name of Rosie the Riveter came from the song “Rosie the Riveter” by Redd Evans and John Jacob Loeb in 1942 (Harvey). Although the slogan “We Can Do It” is associated with J. Howard Miller’s portrait (Harvey), it was the song that secured Rosie the Riveter’s place in history.
The song “Rosie the Riveter” conveyed with urgency the need for women to join the American workforce, and expressed a new idea for its time- that women were capable of performing jobs traditionally held by men. With lines like “All the day long/Whether rain or shine/She’s a part of the assembly line,” and “That little girl will do more than a male will do” (Harvey), the song inspired the idea that women had just as important of a role as men in the war effort. The lyrics go on to describe Rosie’s boyfriend “Charlie” who serves in the Marines, and how she now fills his assembly line position(The Internet Archive), asserting Rosie is equal in every way to a man.
The song, written after Miller’s creation of the “We Can Do it!” image, created a context for and delivered a story to accompany the iconic Rosie the Riveter portrait, establishing women’s place in the blue-collar workforce both during and after World War II, and taking another step toward feminism in America.
Cook, Terri. “Rosie The Riveter NHP.” American Road 11.3 (2013): 78. MasterFILE Premier. Web. 17 Oct. 2015.
Gardner, Janet E. “Rosie The Riveter.” Salem Press Encyclopedia (2015): Research Starters. Web. 17 Oct. 2015.
Harvey, Sheridan. “Rosie the Riveter: Real Women Workers in World War II.” <loc.gov>. The Library of Congress. 20 July. 2010. Web. 17 Oct. 2015.
The Internet Archive. “Rosie The Riveter.” <archive.org>. Audio. 17 Oct. 2015.