Rosie the Riveter wears a face mask

This Is the Rosie the Riveter We Need Right Now

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On reddit, user anonymouslovelyme posted a picture of herself posed as the iconic Rosie the Riveter, with one addition—a matching face mask. I wish posters of this Rosie could go up in establishments around the country.

anonymouslovelyme was kind enough to give us permission to feature her picture on The Mary Sue. We’re particularly keen on Rosie the Riveter here, where a stylized version has served as our icon for years. Created during World War II to represent the strong, capable women stepping up to take the place of male workers who had joined the army, Rosie has remained a powerful and inspiring feminist symbol. She’s appeared in songs, movies, books, and many image renderings, including the instantly recognizable “We Can Do It!” J. Howard Miller poster and another famous version by Norman Rockwell.

Since Rosie the Riveter was supposed to encourage others to emulate her behavior, it feels particularly apt that a new Rosie for the coronavirus age would be masked. If only this were the sort of message the government was keen to widely promote right now.

“I have been doing a number of famous image recreations during the quarantine, and this one seemed a natural fit after I purchased the headscarf and mask from my local hairdresser, who shut down the shop and started making masks back in March,” anonymouslovelyme told us as to how the picture came about. “I see wearing a face mask as a small part of this effort we are all in together.”

Her own personal history with Rosie goes even further back:

When I grew up we had a copy of this poster on the wall in our kitchen. My mom told us about the women who worked during the war and went into male-dominated industries—her own mother being one of them—and how after the war my grandma (who worked as a riveter!) never wore dresses again. Grandma was a bad-ass!

Indeed she was, as is her granddaughter (who is also #liftinggoals). This picture was titled “My modern take on Rosie,” and it has already received upwards of 20k likes on reddit. It taps perfectly into our current moment, with some Americans still refusing to wear face masks and the country showing no signs of pushing back the pandemic anytime soon.

Rosie the Riveter’s call to collective arms—”we can do it”— rings loud and vital right now, and it’s one Americans need to answer as they have in the past. We’re all in this together, and wearing a mask is how we can take care of each other and fight a very different kind of war.

(via/image by u/anonymouslovelyme on reddit)

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Kaila Hale-Stern
Kaila Hale-Stern (she/her) is a content director, editor, and writer who has been working in digital media for more than fifteen years. She started at TMS in 2016. She loves to write about TV—especially science fiction, fantasy, and mystery shows—and movies, with an emphasis on Marvel. Talk to her about fandom, queer representation, and Captain Kirk. Kaila has written for io9, Gizmodo, New York Magazine, The Awl, Wired, Cosmopolitan, and once published a Harlequin novel you'll never find.