Rosie The Russian Riveter

This blog post was nominated to be featured on the “Comrade’s Corner” of the class website.

After reading another classmate’s post about propaganda usage in media and in the movie industry, I was intrigued and wanted to look more into the role that propaganda has, especially during war time. When looking at the Seventeen Moments in Soviet History, I stumbled upon a piece about the role of women in war time films. The article talked about the massive number of war films that were made during World War II, and mentioned that the majority of war films that were made actually did not focus on the wars themselves, but focused on average citizens, specifically women a lot of the time. The piece from the Seventeen Moments speaks about how movies were made to depict women stepping up and being strong supporters while the men were away at war. It also references the usage of women in recruiting posters across Russia, as seen below:

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According to the Seventeen Moments article, the poster reads “The Motherland Calls You” and depicts a strong, weathered women who is calling for the men to step up and serve.

This Russian movement of using women in propaganda stuck out to me because I actually had a discussion about it in my “Modern Military History” class this past week. This usage of women in propaganda in WWII is very similar to the American usage of propaganda in WWII as well. Americans in WWII used posters and other forms of propaganda to compel women to “step up” as the men were away at war. Many women were recruited into the job industries to support war efforts, such as working in factories and assembly lines to support the male soldiers over seas. Everyone can recognize this iconic poster of Rosie the Riveter, which depicts a strong women showing other women that they can do the “harder” and “manlier” jobs:

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It’s interesting to see the shift in ideology in this era. With so much history of sexism and discrimination against women in the workplace in both the United States and Russia, it is ironic that during WWII they needed women to keep their workforce and economy afloat to support the war efforts. I think that the importance of women in World War II is too often overlooked and underappreciated. I think it’s important to recognize these propaganda efforts, the posters and the movies, that depict women as strong and brave characters that step up for their countries because I think it truly is a more honest depiction of the home fronts of the countries during the war.

7 Replies to “Rosie The Russian Riveter”

  1. Dylan, good analysis of women’s roles in the Soviet war effort! As you hinted at in your post, the difference in the way women were expected to participate in the American war effort versus the Soviet war effort is really fascinating! I think this difference is shown really well through the two countries’ films concerning WWII – analyzing and comparing either the films or the posters of the two countries would a worthwhile to “level up” your post, but overall, good job!

  2. Hello Dylan,

    I analyzed Russian women’s role in World War II, and your comparison to American media further developed my research on the topic. I think that many people forget that people existed (as purely “people” — not just as numbers or soldiers) during WWII. However, women ultimately grew to prominence as they were the majority of people unengaged in conflict. Despite this, they are often forgotten as people downplay their roles at home, on the fields, or in the factories.

    I think that women’s rights certainly came a long way following WWII, but it appears that this was a turning point towards the road to change in many countries.

  3. Dylan, I have also taken interest in the role that women have played in Russia this semester. In my previous post, I talked about their ability to fight for certain liberties and how it would have many implications later on. I loved how you were able to highlight women’s role during WWII and make the connection to the United States and how it was similar.

  4. I saw this poster while doing research for my own post, and it immediately reminded me of Rosie the Riveter too! I like how you drew parallels between Rosie and the Soviet woman in the poster. I think it helps remind us that similarities can be found between countries, even those who end up as super powers on opposite sides of the Cold War.

  5. I did a similar post last semester in History of Soviet Culture. I always find the comparisons and similarities between Russian and American culture to be so interesting, especially a time when women of both nations were going through similar things/experiences.

  6. I was unaware of the prevalence of Russian propaganda of this era centered around women. Its interesting how you connected this Russian context with Rosie the Riveter

  7. Hey Dylan,
    Your topic was extremely interesting and I remember looking at a lot of propaganda posters, but I’ve never seen this one. I think it is so intriguing the subliminal messages that can be internalized from an animated picture. One observation I had this one had a more weathered woman on it rather than the typical smooth skinned, younger, hardy woman. This is most likely to project an image of strength and call to action, rather than to sell something to the people.

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