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Visual Rhetoric Representing Rosie the Riveter: Myth and Misconception in J. Howard Miller's "We Can Do It!" Poster

This essay examines the World War II poster "We Can Do It!," commonly known as "Rosie the Riveter." Today, J. Howard Miller's print is a feminist icon. However, archival evidence demonstrates that during World War II the empowering rhetorical appeal of this Westinghouse image was circumscribed by the conditions of its use and by several other posters in its series. The essay concludes that, when considered in its original context, the "We Can Do It!" poster was not nearly as empowering of home-front women as it might seem to more recent viewers. The poster has become a modern-day myth.