After the short post on Rosie the Riveter where I wondered about her relevance in today’s pop culture, one of my friends sent me this picture of a poster he found at a community radio station in Liberia.
Photo: courtesy of J.K
The picture prompted a curiosity about the re-interpretation of symbols, especially of this iconic figure: Rosie the Riveter. Here’s what I found this week, about Rosie the Riveter in the world.
1. Let’s start with Canada
Veronica Foster aka “Ronnie the Bren Gun Girl”. Every Canadian will remind you that she came before Rosie the Riveter. Plus, she was not based on a real person. She was one. She represents the millions of Canadian women who worked in manufacturing plants during World War II.
Picture: courtesy of Library and Archives Canada
2. Now, on to Texas
“In the midst of globalization, how do we, as women and as workers, defend our rights and build sustainable communities rooted in justice and human dignity?”. That is the question, La Mujer Obrera strives to answer with its advocacy and other activities to support women workers of Mexican heritage and their families in the United States. This piece was created Francella Salgado, a painter and tattoo artist, who later gave permission to the organization to use this poster to represent the plight of women workers on the US-Mexican border.
Picture: courtesy of the blog Border Explorer
3. Finally, Mexico.
Rosita Adelita. Blending the symbol that is Rosie the Riveter with La Adelita, a fictional character from the Mexican Revolution, this beautiful piece of art is created by Mexican-American painter, Robert Valadez. In his words: his words: “She is the everyday woman. She is you, my mom, my sister and represents every Latina that faces the challenges of everyday life.” In this context, she is a symbol of female empowerment and strength of character.
Picture: courtesy of the blog Think Mexican
Although at first glance, fictional characters or icons seem to hold no real value, some manage to stay relevant, beyond their place in history. Their role, often, is to evoke something in people, to rally them around a common subject or issue. Symbols create a community or represent one. In Rosie the Riveter’s case, she stood (and still stands) for something that transcended geographic and cultural lines. In various shapes or forms, she represents a can-do spirit, tenacity and endurance.
These are just some pictures I could find. There are so many re-configurations nowadays of the iconic figure.
***Extra Credit: Watch Rosies of the North– A documentary about Canadian women efforts during WWII.