Thursday, 25 September 2014

America and Liberty

This is "Rose The Riveter"

This image was used to openly encourage women to work whilst their men were out fighting. There was obviously a shortage of men doing manual work at these times so the natural alternative was of course, the female counterpart. This image has grown to be an iconic pinup and has developed various connotations over the years. For women at the time, it was a huge step in female inidependance and equality, an era in which they were able to break the apron strings and step out of their "stepford" moulds.It is a lot different to other war photos of the era in which women are pictured leaning into trains, foot popping and smooching their soldier goodbye. I think this image is a bit more girtty and realistic to the female plight of the time as there was a lot more to it for them, than just sitting, waiting and pining.

In direct contrast to that photo, there is the classic V-J Day, Sailor/Nurse kiss in Times Square. 

A romantic kiss between two war workers, a classic example of post war love? A womans chemical reaction to a man in uniform? A true fairytale of New York? In short, I beleive, the answer is no. Like a lot of Americas history, this is entirely subjective. I researched this image and although a lot of it is quite fluffy and sweet, I found that this woman didn't actually want to be kissed. She actively resisted his advances which is how she ended up in such a 'passionate' headlock. The impliance here is that women weren't at all equal, they could work the lands but only when the men were away. Men, still, obscenely, had the right to kiss whichever woman they pleased. Whether it's down to his uniform or simple biology could be long debated. No one batted an eyelid, it draws attention back to the dark struggles of women in that era, the Boardwalk Empire style beatings (a little earlier than the war), and allegations that the majority of Americans didn't beleive, because women were liars/lessers? and men were perfect? Or because there was just so many other issues in this era that the plight of women really wasn't a priority..?

America and Liberty

The image above affirms the association between America and liberty, as it depicts an open road underneath a blue sky surrounded by palm trees, an iconic image of Hollywood, California that symbolises prosperity. For many years, California has been conveyed as a place where anybody can reinvent themselves and seek fame and fortune. This ideal mirrors the original image of America, which was considered as a 'New World' where pilgrims could seek religious freedom, self-government and democracy.

This image however, negates the association as although an image of a native American wearing a ceremonial feathered war bonnet is an iconic one, the treatment of the native american people throughout american history is completely contradictory of the definition of liberty 'a state of being free within society without oppressive restrictions'. It could be argued that this is due to the fact that many native american traditions and customs have altogether disappeared due the native american people being gathered and placed in reservations in such a scale that by the early 19th century no 'free' native Americans remained.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

America and Liberty

I was looking for a decent picture, of a map of the USA. As the shape of the country is itself iconic. As the 'continent county' is very recognizable due to its size and scale.
Then i found this picture which incorporates other iconic images of the US, that of world recognized corporations. Although many may see them as a topic of controversy, I felt that they express a key iconic concept of the USA, which is the growth, development and expansion of independent enterprises, that unlike in some other countries, are at liberty to grow domestically and globally with their own unique identity.

My next  image is the One and Only 'Captain America'....... The symbolic character of America as a tool of military intervention on behalf of liberty and freedom and democracy and the rest. However enveloped as a comic book hero, and the eventual development on to the big screen. The image of 'The perfect soldier' (athletic, strong, white and with a strict morale compass and all Red, White and Blue), giving a gentle and child-friendly perception of the US in regard to involvement in although (fictitious) military conflict. With the image of the US as a 'universal soldier' of liberty and one who only has to use lethal force if absolutely required to do so. (Cpt. America, only carries and shield and occasionally used small pistol , and very rarely kills anybody)

America and Liberty

The image above epitomises patriotism in America, mainly because it is a photo taken on Independence Day, one of the most celebrated and iconic national holidays of America. It affirms the association between America and liberty for a number of reasons, namely because liberty's literal meaning is 'the state of being free within society' and the day celebrates the 'independence' that the country has. Also, children present the future and by having them brought up in an independent and free country they are, by definition, free. The outfits worn depict parts of the American flag, commonly known as 'stars and stripes' and they seem to be walking in a carnival type parade which seems to be quite typical of America. This complete patriotism and love for their country only strengthens the link between America and liberty, as without liberty there would surely not be such enthusiastic displays of patriotism.

This second image depicts a US Army soldier holding his dog tags, one of which shows the unity of America with the phrase 'United States of America One Nation Under God' however the whole image is completely juxtaposed. Despite the clear patriotism, and stereotypical theme of religion, the soldier is still fighting in a war. The US Army is the oldest and largest established branch of the US military which makes them quite a strong foundation, and if the foundations of the country still have to fight for their freedom then it could be considered that they were never free at all. The 'mission' for the army includes 'preserving peace' which does suggest there is indeed peace in America, for them to be able to preserve it, however it seems quite self-destructive to maintain peace and liberty by fighting for it. This could lead us to question how 'free' America is, if the citizens need to continue to fight for their country and its independence, which I feel negates the association between America and liberty to a certain extent.

Both images present different uses of the flag, one shows people celebrating the freedom and independence they believe they already have whereas the other shows it as being used as a motivator to strive towards true fairness, freedom and liberty, suggesting that actually the people don't have the things that were supposedly promised by their country.

America and Liberty

The image above, to me, indicates a coherent relationship between 'America' and instantly recognisable liberty, due to the statue being one of the most highly distinctive and iconic landmarks. As cliché as it may seem, not only does the statue in itself connote independence due to a very significant moment in history, it encompasses America and its power and freedom that is universally identified. This image in particular with the New York cityscape in the background, represents the concrete jungle as a hub where business, careers and opportunities flourish because of the freedom to express yourself as an individual in a large city.

This image represents 'Main Street, USA', Disneyland Florida. Ultimately, Disneyland Florida is one of the most iconic landmarks in the world and it claims superiority over other international parks with its tagline 'the happiest place on earth'. Most people would associate this happiness with the freedom and independence that it has created. Yet, the ideology of creating this 'kingdom' with the 'look and feel of turn-of-the-twentieth century America'*, creates a hyper-reality, a place built on fictional grounds, significantly encouraging the ultimate 'American Dream'. In theory, it is a theme park which has brought fictional stories to life as a fun-filled adventure for people of all ages. However, Disney as a large brand is contiually impacting upon the way most people now, of this generation, would associate America and liberty which I think negates its national identity.