The Life and Times of Rosie the Riveter (1980)

The Life and Times of Rosie the Riveter (1980) directed by Connie Field is a feminist U.S. documentary about the stories of real “Rosie the Riveters” who helped build weapons, airplanes, war boats, and other military equipment during World War Two. The documentary is told through interviews with the women juxtaposed with propaganda films made by the U.S. military and government.  The Life and Times of Rosie the Riveter reveals the hidden history of these working class women who were trained to perform skilled laborer jobs, paid good wages, then forced out of these  jobs after the male soldiers came home from war. The documentary also demonstrates how the U.S. male hegemonic military drew a picture through the propaganda films inferring that these “Rosie the Riveters” were middle class mothers, daughters, and wives of soldiers who were just doing their patriotic duty instead of the reality. The reality being that these women just needed to help support their families. Only one of the real “Rosie the Riveters” had a husband in the army. I recommend The Life and Times of Rosie the Riveter to my readers who are interested in the history of racism, hidden histories, World War Two, propaganda films, sexism in the workplace, and 1980’s feminist documentaries.

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