‘Rosie the Riveter’ Treatment Riles Up Alaska

Magazine GM says "anti-feminism" was never the intention.

Messing with an iconic image can be a tricky.

On the left is artist J. Howard Miller‘s iconic 1942 Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing poster. The emblematic display of female patriotism on the assembly line was echoed the following year by Norman Rockwell for a Saturday Evening Post cover and, overall, became a hugely popular branded wartime message.

On the right is the cover of the January issue of Alaska Business Monthly. Not the most offensive treatment, but enough to get some folks in the Land of the Midnight Sun slightly riled up about the gender switch. As a result, the cover has become fodder for a local TV news story:

Alaska Business Monthly general manager and vice president Jason Martin says they had no intention of offending anyone. He said the cover, which goes along with an article looking at Alaska’s 2017 economic outlook, was meant to be positive, foster optimism and bring Alaskans together.

‘The idea of it being a feminist or even an anti-feminist message was never even at the front of our minds because of this bigger battle, this bigger war that we’re fighting against this idea of Alaska’s economic downturn,” said Martin. “I was really surprised when the first few comments rolled in. This wasn’t our intention behind this cover. It certainly wasn’t anything anti-feminism, just the opposite. It’s embracing all workers in the workforce. It’s embracing all of Alaska in saying that we, working together, can overcome this diversity that we’re facing.”

According to a recent write-up in The Atlantic, it’s not entirely clear* who the 1942 poster was modeled on:

There are conflicting accounts about the woman on whom Miller based his rendering: Some say it was Rose Will Monroe, who was working as a riveter at Michigan’s Willow Run Bomber Plant when she was asked to star in a video series promoting war bonds; others say it was Geraldine Doyle and the UPI photo of her at work.

Per Fishbowl reader John Fraley, the woman upon whom the original poster was modeled is in fact Naomi Parker-Fraley (Fraley is her stepson). Check out the wonderful website he and Mike Fraley have put together at naomiparkerfraley.com. Fishbowl apologizes for the error.

Images via: Smithsonian, Facebook