Complicating Rosie the Riveter

I’ve written books about “ordinary” women caught up in the extraordinary times of World War II, and I’m fascinated by how women’s wartime contributions have been remembered.

Miller Rosie

Rosie the Riveter is one of the most enduring images of World War II. In this blog post for Oxford University Press, I talk about the reality behind this illustration.

Anyone interested in reading more deeply on this topic should take a look at the sources I consulted:

Hegarty, Marilyn. Victory Girls, Khaki-Wackies, and Patriotutes: The Regulation of Female Sexuality during World War II. New York: New York University Press, 2008.

Honey, Maureen. Creating Rosie the Riveter: Class, Gender, and Propaganda During World War II. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1984.

Kimble, James J. and Lester C. Olson, “Visual Rhetoric Representing Rosie the Riveter: Myth and Misconception in J. Howard Miller’s ‘We Can Do It!’ Poster,” Rhetoric & Public Affairs 9:4 (Winter 2006): 533-569.

Knaff, Donna B. Beyond Rosie the Riveter: Women of World War II in American Popular Graphic Art. Lawrence: The University Press of Kansas, 2012.

McEuen, Melissa. Making War, Making Women: Femininity and Duty on the American Home Front 1941-1945. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2011.

Meyer, Leisa D. Creating G.I. Jane: Sexuality and Power in the Women’s Army Corps During World War II. New York: Columbia University Press, 1997.

Sharp, Gwen and Lisa Wade, “Secrets of a Feminist Icon,” Contexts.10:2 (2011): 82-83. Accessed online