Thursday, December 30, 2010

I remember and give thanks.

Geraldine Doyle died yesterday.  Who was Geraldine Doyle?

She was the inspiration for the We Can Do It! poster that has become known as Rosie the Riveter, a cultural icon and symbol of strength for many people, including me.

Geraldine was seventeen during World War II and working in a factory in Michigan as a metal presser when a wire photographer took her photograph.  That photo inspired the Westinghouse graphic artist, J. Howard Miller, to create the We Can Do It! poster.

After it was completed and printed, the poster was hung in factories around the country for two weeks, before it was replaced with another Westinghouse poster, meant as encouragement.  They were the equivalent of the posters corporate offices are fond of featuring the words Service, Excellence, Make It Happen, but the Westinghouse posters were changed out twice a month.

Geraldine was a cello player, the job made her concerned that she would hurt her hand so she quit her metal pressing job.

She went on to marry and did not know she was on the poster until she saw it in an old magazine in 1984.  Her image was put on a stamp in the 1990's and she appears on everything from bags and t-shirts to my left arm.

Geraldine's poster, her flexing her arm and staring right out at us, makes me think of a cheeky young woman who liked to laugh and dismissed the thought that there was anything she couldn't do.  Was she really like this?  I have no idea, I never met her, read an interview with her or seen anything about her personality.

But that's what I think of when I see her, that's why I put her picture not only with the other Goddesses on my dresser, but on my body permanently.

I thank her for being there that day and flexing her biceps for the camera.

Rest well Geraldine and know you are remembered.

Amanda's beauty tip of the day:  Put your hair up in a bandana, put on some lipstick and flex your biceps!

1 comment:

Cyndee said...

And they are leaving us. You, darling girl, have had the joy of knowing many from that era. They are made of Other Stuff. I don't know that we have too, too much of it around now. It was the "Can do, make it work, use it up" group.
You are right to remember and celebrate.