Rosie the Riveter: A Choice of Weapons

Rosie the Riveter is commonly used as a face of feminism and women’s economic power.  Yet, the image’s origins are considered to be highly patriotic, as the song Rosie song goes: ‘All the day long, Whether rain or shine, She’s part of the assembly line, She’s making history, Working for victory.’  Little did people know, that these patriotic pictures were taken by a group of photographers under the governmental agency of the Farm Security Administration, commonly known as the FSA Information Division. (Some of these photographs included the great Dorthea Lange and Walker Evans). The intent of the images was to keep production up by boosting morale, not to recruit more women workers. Whatever their intentions were I found these images helpful, in Gordon Park’s words, both a FSA’s photographer and later a prominent film director (of Shaft) these images were:  ‘A Choice of Weapons’.