RCL Essay Draft


Shannon Harney

Mrs. Hamilton


October 4, 2017

Analysis of the Rosie the Riveter “We Can Do It!” Poster and the Penn State “We Are” Cheer

This is still a work in progress and I know that I need to get rid of talking about my first artifact and replace those sections with my new artifact – so sorry for whoever has to read this I’m fixing it later today

Almost every student at Penn State is here in part because of the football, myself included.  Every Penn Stater can appreciate a long Saquon Barkley run.  Our hearts skip a beat when McSorley makes one of his signature perfect passes and many of us believe more in Coach Franklin than in any religious figure.

like how the Rosie the Riveter “We Can Do It!” poster was an important symbol of the World War II Era and its effect on America, Penn State’s “We Are” chant is an icon of the school and all that it aims to represent.  It was so widely circulated that nearly everyone on Penn State’s campus that it became a calling card for the school and ultimately became something the nittany lions were known for.  Similar to how the Rosie the Riveter poster is much more than just a piece of American history, but also a present-day feminist symbol, the “We Are” chant is a vital piece of Penn State.  Rosie the Riveter’s depiction of a strong female factory worker was mass circulated to lift the spirits of the American Homefront during WWII and is still shown today as an emblem of feminism and all that it entails, equality for all.  Similarly, the creation and present-day relevance of the “We Are” chant at Penn State reflects the same strength and determination.

By examining its bright, uplifting colors and Rosie’s patriotic attire, the civic element of the poster becomes evident – it’s trying to recruit people to fulfil their civic duty.  Originally, it was used to convince Americans to help out during wartime after millions of American men left to fight in WWII because they needed more workers to fill the factory jobs and keep the troops supplied.  The Rosie the Riveter poster was extremely effective in convincing women to help out on the Homefront and fulfil their civic duty.  According to U-S-History.com, “more than six million female workers helped to build planes, bombs, tanks and other weapons that would eventually win World War II”.  Today, this poster is still civic as well.  It also represents peoples’ duty to treat all people with respect and actively promote equality between men and women.  In the very same way, the “we are” chant expresses our duty to represent Penn State.  “We are” means that we must be Penn State in all that we do in our lives.

Most importantly, this poster carries the commonplace of feminismThe image gave women a role model that they were not used to seeing.  Rosie is dressed in blue collar clothes to contradict the idea that women cannot be a part of the workforce.  Rosie’s strong and fierce appearance combined with the slogan that “WE can do it” created an inclusivity that women were not accustomed to when this poster first circulated.  Today that phrase sticks with women in the same way, suggesting that women can accomplish almost anything if they work together.  The “we are” chant also hits hard on prejudice, but in a slightly different way.  It represents our school’s unwillingness to accept racism.

Another commonplace associated with this poster is the idea that the American people should never give upDuring the toughest battles of WWII, the American Homefront could look to this poster and its message that “We can do it!” and feel motivated.  Raised American spirits enough to help win the war over seas.  Present day, people use this poster as a reminder to keep working towards equality through their actions both online and in their day to day lives.  The “we are” chant also promotes determination.  It is yelled at football games to excite the crowd and support the team

A third commonplace seen in this poster is the importance of strength.  Rosie’s flexed muscles and fierce expression represent the strength of the American peopleIn WWII they had to be strong in order to make it through the war.  Present day, women must be strong in going after what they want: equality amongst genders.  We are is the embodiment of the strength of Penn State.  Yes, this pertains heavily to football, but it also goes far beyond that.

The Rosie the Riveter poster has morphed from a solely historic propaganda poster from the WWII era into a calling card for the feminist movement.  In order to stay relevant with the times, as Kairos would suggest, the poster took on a slightly nuanced meaning by focusing even more on feminism while still holding onto the same commonplaces of power and perseverance.  Rosie the Riveter’s message that “we can do it” will forever stand the test of time because it represents a sort of strength and determination that will always be relevant in society.

*Insert we are conclusion

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