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..?

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