What effects did World War II have on women and their opportunity for work?
In this week’s lecture and other video viewings, one of the main focus is towards women during World War II and how their perceptions and roles have shifted. Women’s lives have changed in areas of politics and participation in their communities and in the military and defense industries that American women would have never imagined happening. One of the iconic symbols represented for women during this period was an image of Rosie the Riveter. Rosie was a symbol for women because she demonstrated femininity, strength and power for those women working in factory industries and for typically male dominated jobs. A benefit and positive effect with the participation of women in the defense industry was a chance to diminish the focus on sex-segregated labor during the war and allowed women to open up in areas such as welders, riveters, and electricians (DuBois 496). With the government issuing the campaign in promoting women taking on men’s jobs, the main motive was to enhance women’s patriotism and gain a sense of independence for themselves.
Despite the hardships of World War II and the struggles it brought, there was also a success in creating new opportunities and diversity for women in the work industry. If it wasn’t for the campaign of Rosie the Riveter, would there have been an opportunity and change for women in a new type of labor and industry work?
Do you believe that white-owned cosmetics businesses would have been as successful if they were not marketed as a “race” firm?
When reading Through Women’s Eyes, we learned about Madame C.J. Walker, who was bold about her activism. Not only was she vocal about her support of civil rights, but she had an incredibly successful business that uplifted black women. While white owned firms claim to also uplift black women, they also sold hair straightening products and whitening creams. Do you believe that these firms really supported their customer base and not just profited off of them? Would they have been able to compete with Madame C.J. Walker if they did not promote themselves as “race” firms?
I think that the excerpt in the book that said that these ads “reassured black women of their beauty when so much of American popular culture told them they were unattractive” (page 511) was done not because they actually saw Black Women as beautiful but because they wanted to profit from their insecurity. They did not enhance their natural hair or skin color, they wanted to change it. I feel like they would not have been as successful if they did not promote themselves as “race” firms because with Madame C.J. Walker, many could relate to her background and find her products more appealing. In contrast, they would not be able to relate to a white man and his background.