Workin' Overtime on the Riveting Maching

8:16:00 PM

Halloween! Halloween! Halloween is second only to Christmas for me. I LOVE Halloween. This is the first year in a while I've had a real costume, so I'm pretty dang excited. And it's one I've wanted to do for all too long.
This Rosie the Riveter costume is definitely one of my own interpretation. It was inspired by the iconic J. Howard Miller poster...
But also Norman Rockwell's Saturday Evening Post "Rosie the Riveter." I'm a huge Rockwell fan. 

But my costume was absolutely informed by countless pictures of wartime women taking advantage of the wide variety of jobs now open to them. Goddamn but women are are awesome. I've wanted to do this costume for so long; it speaks to me. It feels like me! But I also feel like I'm representing and carrying the legacy of women's powerful role in crafting American history. There's a lot of negative things to be said about the cultural icon of Rosie the Riveter, and I'll say it: The notion that women were making some kind of womanly sacrifice in taking jobs while men were off at war is really really stupid. Opening up more industrial positions to more women was something that many women were nationalistically motivated for, sure. But there were many women in the workforce already. Many of them were women of color and/or immigrants. That's something we need to acknowledge. Furthermore, Rosie calls to mind a kind of gross propaganda that was absolutely present in 1940s America that I don't think we should be proud of.
That said, Rosie is a pro-woman, pro-labor regulation figure that is marvelously unique. Everyone knows what she looks like. Wow, that's powerful. She's pro-union and pro-equality and damn, we'd do well to remember what she stood for. And what she stands for. Her image has really been embraced by present-day feminists, and I love that.
I had to grapple with how I'd present her. I'm often annoyed by "sexed up" Rosie the Riveter images (I'll be the first to admit that lipstick and...riveting aren't the best mix), but there's also some really questionable gender essentialism that often goes into that conversation. In the end, I tried to represent Rosie through how myself. Some parts feminine, some parts not so feminine, but exactly how I feel comfortable. I think it works--women workers in the period posters and ads I've seen were usually presented as either hyper, hyper feminine or were awkwardly masculinized. I'm sure there were hyper-feminine  women riveters and masculine women riveters, but most of us fall somewhere in the middle. And Rosie is most inspiring when we can all do it. 

Overalls: Thrifted @ Savers
Shirt: Free bin
Boots: Amazon
Earrings and scarf: Theater department sale
Goggles: One or another con
Trunk: A crazy vintage vendor

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  1. Aw, this is great--I love your take on the look and your thoughtful analysis of the complex (and contradictory) things Rosie represents in our history. My office of almost-all women did a group costume of the baseball team from A League of Their Own this year, and I felt a little conflicted about it, since I do love the female friendships and semi-feminist message but understand that it's not very intersectional in a lot of ways. Mostly, though, I'm glad that we did it.


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