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Marisol Leyva

Professor Beadle

English 114A

3 April 2017

Gender Roles

In gender roles there has always been a specific thing that everyone believes. For instance it has been

believed that men are accountable to have a job and financially provide a good home, while for

women it is believed that they have to stay home, clean the house, and be submissive while helping

their husbands and kids (if any) on anything they need. There are even advertisements and images

that provide people to think the way they do about some differences there might be in heterosexual

relationships. In the visual text of Rosie the Riveter We Can Do It! there has been made an

advertisement inspired by the original one but with some editing to it. The edited version of this

advertisement has been made to give a different meaning and to confuse people. This visual text can

make through its argument because the edit that has been made is now making the image have the

words GET THE POWER. The power to clean anything. This no longer implies that Rosie being

shown as a strong women that could do anything, but instead shows women that belong home

cleaning while men have to be the ones out there making money.

For those who are not familiar with the original visual text of Rosie the Riveter, here is some

background information. The image has a woman showing her muscles to demonstrate that she has

such power as men do. Rosie is wearing clothing that is meant for men to wear and has the words

We Can Do It! which demonstrates that the image is intentionally focused on grabbing women's

attention to give them strength to do anything they want.

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The visual text of GET THE POWER. The power to clean anything is an edited version of We

Can Do It! of Rosie the Riveter. This edited version has created, many new meanings. In this edited

version of Rosie the Riveter, Rosie is presented more feminine. Unlike the original image, the edited

one has Rosie with darker red lips and with red nail polish on her fingernails which by all means,

clearly suggests that women are only useful for cleaning and pleasing their husbands with their sexual

needs since the color red has been seen as a sign of romance. In the original picture of Rosie, she is

shown with a more tough and angry face while in the edited image she is looking more sweet and

calm. This is implying that women have to be sweet and kind to their husbands no matter what and to

just always look pretty since the red fingernails and the red lips show that even if you are cleaning

you have to look your best. Also another detail about this edited image is that we are able to notice

that Rosie has a ring on her ring finger which highly demonstrates that she is shown as a married

women unlike the original image that has no ring in any finger or in a place else of the image. This is

demonstrating that a woman has to be married to be able to be someone in life so that no one can

judge you and believe anything else about you according to society.

With this edited version of We Can Do It! of Rosie the Riveter, there is much more than just that

image. For example there is a research study that has been made in the National Science Foundation

web page that has found out that in 2005, single women did about 13 hours a week, married women,

regardless of age, did about 17 hours a week, single men did about 9 hours and married men did

about 14 hours a week(University of Michigan Institute for Social Research). So why make ads

about cleaning materials only meant for women? The studies show that men make an effort to help

women around the house even though it has always been known that women are the ones who make
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the chores of the house. Why are all these men so afraid of saying that they help out as if that is not

something to be proud of? Men do not have to care what society has to say because they are the ones

that once they speak everyone is going to get used to all these things. The cleaning advertisements

have to be made for both men and women.

As our very intellectual author Judith Lorber describes in her essay, Night to His Day: The Social

Construction of Gender she talks about roles that have changed and some that have stayed the same.

Fathers are taking care of little children, girls and boys are wearing unisex clothing and getting the

same education, women and men are working at the same jobs, (21). These are some examples of

the things that have changed but for some reason men are still afraid to help out or at least to accept

that they help clean. Cleaning is still one of those things that has not changed because if a man is

cleaning it means that the woman is the boss in the house. Instead of the woman doing as a man

says the woman is the one is charge making the man seen as not a man (based on what the image of a

man is for society). Aaron Devor, another one of our amazing authors, describes in his essay,

Becoming Members of Society: The Social Meanings of Gender, how women also need some kind

of affection from their husbands, some kind of help. Devor quotes in his essay, from the reading The

Gender Dysphoria Syndromes: A Position Statement on So-Called Transsexualism by Jon K.

Meyer and John E. Hoopes, that according to the traditional formulation, femininity would result in

warm and continuing relationships with men, a sense of maternity, interest in caring for children, and

the capacity to work productively and continuously in female occupations (40). This has shown that

women would be more caring and feel more productive if men would do some kind of caring for

women too.
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There is way more to all of this of women being mistreated and this could go on and on with more

information but there is also some knowledge about women not being alone on this mistreatment.

For example Kate Cummings did an essay in the Encyclopedia of American Studies web page in

which she says "Unnatural was the demonstrably punitive epithet hurled at men who worked from

their homes, at heterosexual women who chose not to reproduce, and at lesbians and gays whose

sexuality violated the separate-spheres order and its complementary sexist mandate. This is saying

that not only women suffer with societies believes but also other people. This is for those who believe

that this is only defending women. Yes, other people have suffered too but think about how women

are the ones that, more than any other people, have suffered the most. There are those men who

worked from their homes, as Cummings mentions, but for that men can always just stay home and

more and more people will join their situation unlike women that have had already been through a lot

of discrimination because of their gender because they are seen as weak and unuseful for everything

but sexual needs and the home cleaning.

The image of Rosie the Riveter has a very powerful meaning just by itself. This image gives us the

understanding that women are strong too. That women can do what men do too because based on the

background information of this image, it was actually made by the army to give women some

motivation to be themselves and fight for what they want. The edited image then, is making a totally

different suggestion of having women at home cleaning because that is what they are all good for

only. All the motivation the original image of Rosie the Riveter gives to a woman, it is then taken

away by the edited version leaving women out and suggesting to just leave things how they have been

and to not let women do as they wish. In reality women just have to fight for their dreams and forget
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about an edited Rosie the Riveter and focus on the original one because after all she is the one that is

supposed to be stronger and caring at the same time.

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Citation Page

Chore Wars: Men, Women and Housework, National Science Foundation, University of Michigan

Institute for Social Research, 2005,

Cummings, Kate. Gender and Culture, Encyclopedia of American Studies, Johns Hopkins

University Press, 2017,

Devor, Aaron. Becoming Members of Society: The Social Meanings of Gender, Composing


edited by Rachael Groner and John F. OHara, Bedford St. Martins, 2014, pp. 35-43.

Lorber, Judith. Night to His Day: The Social Construction of Gender Composing Gender, edited by

Rachael Groner and John F. OHara, Bedford St. Martins, 2014, pp. 19-33.