So, from the start, I knew that I wanted to have some fun with this jumpsuit and play fashionable ode to Rosie, and what better time to play The Imitation Game than Halloween?!
If you’re not familiar with the iconic Rosie the Riveter photo, it was used as part of a propaganda campaign to encourage morale among workers.
Women had been encouraged to replace men in the factories while they were enlisted during World War II. While women’s increased labor force participation was part of the impetus that led to the women’s rights movements of the 60s & 70s, the image of Rosie was not originally intended as the feminist figure she has become.
Women were encouraged through propaganda that it was their patriotic duty to join the workforce and to help support the war effort, but once the war was over, women lost their jobs and were told it was their patriotic duty to return to the home and to give up their status in the paid labor force.
While the war greatly increased women’s labor force participation, the figure of Rosie the Riveter also overshadowed the fact that many women had already been in the paid labor force. Poor white women and many women of color had been working outside of the home already. This fact tends to get ignored. While some women began fighting to get out of the kitchens, many women were already in the labor force, working for much lower wages than men, some working as maids and nannies for the very women that Rosie represented.
As problematic as she may be, the figure of Rosie is still important. While she certainly didn’t start out as a feminist icon, many feminists have taken this iconic image of the past and have separated it from its original meaning to create an empowering figure.
The labor force participation of “Rosie” and other women helped lead to greater economic and social independence of women. It also became part of the impetus for the women’s rights movements which helped improve the status of all women.
Now that you know the history, let me talk about my outfit a bit. While not practical for real factory work, I went with red peep-toe heels to add a fashion touch to my look. I actually wore this very look (including scarf) over the summer while running some pre-wedding errands. So even though it is a little costumey by modern standards, it still makes for a fun look.
For my costume, I also added a button to my collar. I didn’t get a good pic of it as the light kept blurring the words, but I figured it fit today’s theme. The button features the Marie Shear quote, “Feminism is the radical notion that women are people.”
Yes, we can do it! It’s a good mantra for life, and
ultimately, it’s an empowering message. Women aren’t strong because we
have muscles on our arms…we’re strong because we do what needs to be
done. We take care of business at home and in the paid labor force.
Economic circumstances still impact a women’s “choice” of whether to
work or not. It’s important though that we respect these choices as
there is no wrong or right choice. It’s also important that we continue
to work for greater economic freedom for ALL women so that we can ALL
do it no matter what “it” looks like!
Did you dress up? Would love to see your pics! Share on Instagram using hashtag #SCHalloween!
For the jumpsuit in another look, see here.