We Can Do It!
Part of a series on War Propaganda Parodies. [View Related Entries]
PROTIP: Press 'i' to view the image gallery, 'v' to view the video gallery, or 'r' to view a random entry.
"We Can Do It!" is an American World War II propaganda poster depicting a female factory worker flexing her right arm. In modern days, this poster is often associated with feminism and female empowerment.
In 1942, Westinghouse Electric's internal War Production Coordinating Committee hired Pittsburgh artist J. Howard Miller to devise a series of posters to promote worker enthusiasm. One such poster featured a woman in a polka-dot bandana and work coveralls flexing her bicep. Above the woman was the phrase "We can do it!" (shown below).
Rosie the Riveter
The earliest mention of "Rosie the Riveter" comes from a 1942 song of the same name written by Redd Evens and John Jacob Loeb.
While the original picture was not connected to the song "Rosie the Riveter," the following year, Norman Rockwell published a similar illustration of a working woman with a coveralls (shown below, right) and the title "Rosie the Riveter. On May 29th, 1943, the image appeared on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post, connecting the name "Rosie the Riveter" to the iconic image of women working during World War II.
On May 23rd, 1982, the Washington Post published an article on America propaganda posters from World Was I and II. The article, "Poster Art for Patriotism's Sake," featured the "We Can Do It" poster, which had been reproduced by the National Archives, putting it back in the public's view.
Identity of Model
In January 2018, the new York Times named Naomi Parker Fraley, a California waitress as the most likely inspiration for Rosie the Riveter. Originally thought to be another working woman of the 1940s, Geraline Doyle, who thought a picture of a woman in a polka-dot bandana working an industrial lathe press resembled her, was thought to be the inspiration.
In 2017, Dr. James J. Kimble uncovered an original photograph of the woman with the lathe from a vintage photo dealer. Dated March 24th, 1942, the photograph featured the caption "Pretty Naomi Parker looks like she might catch her nose in the turret lathe she is operating."
Parodies and Homages
Since returning to the public's eyes, Rosie the Riveter and "We Can Do It" has become a popular source of parody and homage, typically used in political campaigns and actions. During the 2008 presidential campaign, supporters of candidate Hillary Clinton used the iconography for her campaign (shown below, left). Only four years later, supporter of Sarah Palin did the same for the nominee for vice president (shown below right).
Rosie the Riveter has become a popular subject of cosplay, with women dressing up in the workers coveralls and polka-dot bandana.
 Wikipedia – Rosie the Riveter
 Wikipedia – We Can Do It!
 Park West Gallery – Norman Rockwell’s Rosie the Riveter Joins Crystal Bridges’ Collection
 The Washington Post – POSTER ART FOR PATRIOTISM'S SAKE
 The New York Times – Naomi Parker Fraley, the Real Rosie the Riveter, Dies at 96
 Vintage Basement – Hillary Clinton T-Shirt – We Can Do It – 2008
There are no videos currently available.
+ Add a Comment
Add a Comment