Friday, December 31, 2010

Rosie Quit!

Rosie the Riveter died on Sunday, December 26, 2010. With her passing comes to light the surprising story of this iconic World War II illustration: Rosie was a actually cellist. She was quite pretty and had her photo snapped because she happened to be working at a metal factory at the right moment, but she quit that factory two weeks later, after hearing about an accident on the shop floor. (It seems that another young lady had injured her hands while using the heavy machinery.)

We don’t think Rosie was a slacker. AND her name wasn’t “Rosie” (or even "Rose"), but Geraldine Doyle and she was a survivalist.

Our bodies were not built to perform the same task over and over and over again. And, as we can attest, it numbs the mind and deadens the spirit.
“Farm women were accustomed to hard work, but
laboring in the large, noisy mills was different. On the
farm, women had controlled their own work sched-
ule. And they did many different farm tasks, working
at each until it was completed. In the mill, women did
one task over and over again. The pace and the hours
of work were now determined by the factory owners.
In this new context, work was less satisfying and even
time itself took on a different meaning.”
[From: Daughters of Free Men, The Companion Guide.]

This holds not just for women, but for men, too, as The Industrial Age and its remnants are a scourge on the soul of humanity.

We are well aware that the hard work of many women in our country went to further the war effort and helped the Allies to win. While it is not our intent to disrespect the people who gave up so much during that era, we do question the entire notion of "progress" at the expense of all other human qualities, interests, and pursuits.

Yet, for all the talk of World War II, the idea of getting women to sign on to the effort, etc., etc. that surrounds this poster, there is another way of seeing it:

“A picture of Doyle was later used by J. Howard Miller, a graphic artist at Westinghouse, for the poster which was aimed at deterring strikes and absenteeism."

We champion Geraldine Doyle and the fact that she quit her job to save her hands so that she could continue to play the cello. Chances are good that after she did, she moved on to something more suitable.

R.I.P. Geraldine.

[Photo by Robert Killips.]

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