Sunday, April 5, 2009

Rosie the Riviter goes to Washington

Our spiritual sister, Rosie the Riveter, was the perfect iconic symbol our nation needed as it headed into World War II. No one is sure whether there was a real Rosie or not. The Rosie of the Department of Defense poster represented a female aircraft worker during the war who riveted thousands of rivets on Avenger bombers.

Prior to Pearl Harbor there were few women working outside the home. An estimated 18 million women worked in defense industries and support services by 1945, working as ship builders, machinists, welders, painters, riviters, pipefitters, police officers and nurses.

During the same time, 1.2 million blacks from the South migrated north and west for industrial defense jobs.

It was a time of incredible social change, survival and victory in spite of what the nation endured. The groundwork was laid then, when the war ended, for the civil rights and the women's rights movements, which slowly advanced across the nation in years to come.

Richmond is host of the Rosie the Riveter Memorial located at the Marina Bay harbor. There is a plaque at the memorial which reads:

"You must tell your children, putting all modesty aside, that without us, without women, there would have been no spring in 1945."

Enter Michelle Obama.

Now "Miche" Obama is being touted as the new iconic woman the nation needs to rein in a new world order. Women are being asked to show pride for a woman who reportedly is changing what it means to be a First lady (planting a vegetable garden and buying gifts for prime minister's children from the White House gift shop). Apparently she is the epitome of what a female should be: smart, svelt with toned biceps, and a superhero incognito. Women are being rallied, by the likes of Oprah, to show our support for her powerful message of equality. We should be celebrating our collective achievement of equality rather than being rallied to make it our most urgent cause. Equality is relevant; however, there are more urgent issues. Bangladesh is sinking, children are dying of Aids all over the globe, we are fighting two wars, our economy is in the toilet, the poles are melting, drug czars are taking over our U.S Mexico border, we have an energy crisis, and Russia and China are talking about creating a new currency.

Does anyone else see irony in this scenerio?

One final thought: Was it not equality that got her hubby elected to the White House?

What in the world does this have to do with dream weaving a life I can be proud of? The answer is that I must keep my head on straight and prioritize appropriately if I'm going to live a life of substance. I know first-hand that in 1975 I could not be seen at a night club with a black man, whether or not our relationship was platonic or romantic, but would be asked to leave. The law prevents this discrimination today. We have evolved with the exception of some radical extremists and, in my world, that is worth celebrating.


Woman in a Window said...

Careful celebration...and why the heck do we need to emulate anyone anyway? Shouldn't we, in our celebration of diversity, each be our own person. Sometimes I wonder...

But yes, Michelle seems to be a really worthy person. Let's all be our own really worthy people.

Pouty Lips said...

Woman in a Window,
You are very wise. "Let's all be our own really worthy people." That's the best quote of my weekend.

Anonymous said...

I also really like that quote- Let's all be our own really worthy people.

I don't have a problem with Michelle Obama, but for me it all still comes down to the fact she is famous because of the man she married. (Yeah, I know she was sucessful in her own right, but the entire world didn't know her name until her husband became President.)

I'd rather the new iconic woman be at the top because she clawed her way there.

I really enoyed your post.

bARE-eYED sUN said...

very well put. :-)

we agree, our life has improved in very many ways even as new troubles rear their heads and old troubles go, politely, undergound.

prioritizing is definitely a . . .er . . . uhm. . . .

bARE-eYED sUN said...



Pouty Lips said...

K: I'd rather the new iconic woman be Hilary Clinton. She didn't get where she is because of a man; her man got to where his is because of her to a great extent.

Pouty Lips said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pouty Lips said...

bare-eyed sun: Barry did something recently that, I think, brings my point home. Barry is going around bowing to Saudi Kings for Chrissakes. I want the US to be on equal footing with the rest of the world. What's with him bowing down? I feel like the Obamas don't see the global picture. And then there's the pirate hostage sitch - I won't even go there.

yoon see said...

Thanks for supporting us as a celebrity ladies, we can do all things whether in the kitchen or together battle with male co-workers.
We can do it; we have faith, confidence and etc:)

Redbush said...

Thank goodness for all the women in history who have worked so hard to get us to where we are today! The world has come a long way in certain areas, but, ironically not in others.

Reader Wil said...

Great post! This should have been a very post for International Women's Day. Thanks for your visit and comment. Happy weekend.