With all that is happening in my life right now, I have been spending a lot of time thinking about struggle and strife and trying to keep things in perspective by reading about women who had things much worse than me, yet triumphed and carved success out of the hand they were dealt.
In looking at American history- the mid 30's through 40's was a very interesting time for women. There is a research paper begging to be written here- and when I get back on track with school I will be writing it.
So this is a long post. I started at Rosie the Riveter, and ended with pin up art on fighter planes. The sexism, the rise of feminism, the juxtaposition of the working independent woman versus the objectified pin up on the planes that were killing in the name of "freedom". I can not wait to write this paper!! Makes me want to go enroll in American History this semester just so that I can.
In the meantime I will settle for pasting from the Wiki.
Rosie the Riveter is a cultural icon of the United States, representing the American women who worked in factories during World War II, many of whom produced munitions and war supplies. These women sometimes took entirely new jobs replacing the male workers who were in the military. Rosie the Riveter is commonly used as a symbol of feminism and women's economic power. A tireless assembly line worker, doing her part to help the American war effort.
About 150,000 American women served in the WAAC and WAC during World War II. They were the first women other than nurses to serve with the Army. While conservative opinion in the leadership of the Army and public opinion generally was initially opposed to women serving in uniform, the shortage of men necessitated a new policy. While most women served stateside, some went to various places around the World, including Europe, North Africa and New Guinea. For example, WACs landed on Normandy Beach just a few weeks after the initial invasion.
Many men ferociously opposed allowing women in uniform, warning their sisters and friends they would be seen as lesbians or prostitutes. They feared that if women became soldiers they would no longer serve in a masculine preserve and their masculinity would be devalued. Others feared being sent into combat units if women took over the safe jobs.
Nose art is a decorative painting or design on the fuselage of a military aircraft, usually located near the nose, and is a form of aircraft graffiti.
While begun for practical reasons of identifying friendly units, the practice evolved to express the individuality often constrained by the uniformity of the military, to evoke memories of home and peacetime life, and as a kind of psychological protection against the stresses of war and the probability of death. The appeal, in part, came from nose art not being officially approved, even when the regulations against it were not enforced.
Because of its individual and unofficial nature, it is considered folk art, inseparable from work as well as representative of a group. It can also be compared to sophisticated graffiti. In both cases, the artist is often anonymous, and the art itself is ephemeral. In addition, it relies on materials immediately available.
Nose art is largely a military tradition, but civilian airliners operated by the Virgin Group feature "Virgin Girls" on the nose as part of their livery. There were exceptions, including the 8th Air Force B-17 "Whizzer", which had its girl-riding-a-bomb on the dorsal fin.