Watch the video, “Rosie the Riveter” and read the lyrics of the song. If the video does not display properly, follow the instructions here to disable protection on the page for viewing. Clarity Films. (1980). “The Life and Times of Rosie the Riveter.” All-day long, Whether rain or shine, She’s a part of the assembly line. She’s making history, Working for victory, Rosie the Riveter. Keeps a sharp lookout for sabotage, Sitting up there on the fuselage. That little girl will do more than a male will do. Rosie’s got a boyfriend, Charlie. Charlie, he’s a Marine. Rosie is protecting Charlie, Working overtime on the riveting machine. When they gave her a production “E,” She was as proud as she could be. There’s something true about, Red, white, and blue about, Rosie the Riveter. Redd Evans and John Jacob Loeb, “Rosie the Riveter,” (New York: Paramount Music Corp., 1942).
1. What backgrounds did these women come from before the war? What sort of labor segregation did they experience, both with regards to race and gender?
2. What drew the women into the factories? What did the propaganda films say had drawn them? What do the women interview say?
3. How did the propaganda films depict women’s work before the war? Why did they show women pursuing leisure activities–for example, playing cards?
4. How did the propaganda films make connections between domestic labor and women’s job skills in the industrial workplace? Why did the films make this connection?
5. How did male and female war workers interact? Did women in war work face job segregation and/or discrimination by race? By gender?
6. What did women get out of their war work? In what ways were their experiences as war workers new to them? In what ways were they continuations of patterns of work outside the home they had pursued before the war?
7. Why was union activity so significant in war-working women’s lives? What strategies of the organization did women learn from their union experiences?
8. How did women in war work balance the demands on them as mothers and as workers? What strategies for survival did they adopt?
9. The documentary contains a propaganda film aimed at women workers, telling them that it was their fault when war production fell. Why did the film blame women?
10. How was patriotism used to dictate women’s behavior?