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Author Knaff, Donna B.,
Title Beyond Rosie the Riveter : Women of World War II in American Popular Graphic Art / Donna B. Knaff.
Imprint Lawrence, Kansas : University Press of Kansas, [2012]

Author Knaff, Donna B.,
Series CultureAmerica.
Culture America.
Subject Women in art.
Women in popular culture -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
World War, 1939-1945 -- Women -- United States.
Women -- United States -- Social conditions -- 20th century.
Description ix, 214 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm.
Bibliography Note Includes bibliographical references (pages 205-210) and index.
Summary As the author reveals, visual messages received by women through war posters, magazine cartoons, comic strips, and ads may have acknowledged their importance to the war effort but also cautioned them against taking too many liberties or losing their femininity. This study examines the subtle and not so subtle cultural battles that played out in these popular images, opening a new window on American women's experience. Some images implicitly argued that women should maintain their femininity despite adopting masculinity for the war effort; others dealt with society's deep-seated fear that masculinized women might feminize men; and many reflected the dilemma that a woman was both encouraged to express and suppress her sexuality so that she might be perceived as neither promiscuous nor lesbian. From these cases, the author draws a common theme: while being outwardly empowered or celebrated for their wartime contributions, women were kept in check by being held responsible for everything from distracting male co-workers to compromising machinery with their long hair and jewelry. Also noted are the subtle distinctions among the images: government war posters targeted blue-collar women, New Yorker content was aimed at socialites, Collier's addressed middle-class women, and Wonder Woman was geared to young girls. Especially through its focus on visual arts, the book gives us a new look at American society decades before the modern women's rights movement, torn between wartime needs and antiquated gender roles. It provides nuance to a glossed-over chapter in our history, charting the difficult negotiations that granted, and ultimately took back, American women's wartime freedoms.
Contents "A queer mixture of feelings" : conflicting messages to women during the war -- From bathing suits to parachutes, or, "Don't call me Mac!" : OWI, ambivalence, and "women's" work -- "America will be as strong as her women" : femininity, masculinity, and the merging of the spheres -- "Does your sergeant know you're out?" : women's sexuality in wartime -- "Now, let's see your pass," or, Wonder Woman and the "Giant women army officers" : female power and authority as masculinity -- "Here's one job you men won't be asking back" : "reconversion" of masculinity at war's end -- "These girls are strong, bind them securely!" : World War II images of women in the postwar world.
ISBN 9780700618507 (cloth : alk. paper)
0700618503 (cloth : alk. paper)
9780700619665 (pbk)
0700619666 (pbk)
ISBN/ISSN 99950132794
OCLC # 760979112