restricted access Rosie’s Secret Identity, Or, How to Debunk a Woozle by Walking Backward through the Forest of Visual Rhetoric

This essay investigates the authenticity of Geraldine Hoff Doyle’s widely accepted status as the model for the World War II– era “We Can Do It!” poster. After considering the rhetorical nature of the so-called woozle effect, the analysis endeavors to counter this particular woozle by plotting a reverse narrative. Taking the form of a quest that moves backward through a metaphorical forest of visual rhetoric, the essay initially traces the sources of Doyle’s tale into the recent past and, subsequently, into the original visual context. At length, it debunks Doyle’s claim while identifying Naomi Parker as a previously unknown figure in the controversy surrounding the poster.