Newsflash: Loose Women don't speak for all women

Thursday, 27 January 2011

The existence of the daytime television show Loose Women and the fact that its presenters are thoroughly irritating, reinforce tired stereotypes and in no way represent the feelings of all women does not in any way negate the fact that misogyny is a major problem.

In the wake of the furore surrounding Dominic Raab's comments about feminists and sexism on Sky Sports, people seem to come out in force to insist that let's be honest, all that's gone on isn't really a problem, is it? The REAL problem is the presenters of Loose Women and the way they deride men. Because they're somehow representative of the way ALL WOMEN treat ALL MEN and really, the programme just goes to show how much of a raw deal men are getting these days. Loose Women is the embodiment of what feminism has done to gender relations in our society.

I can't stand Loose Women and the sort of attitudes it promotes. I've written before about the way inequality is bad for men AND women and that unpleasant stereotyping is harmful to everyone. I don't think it's acceptable to make sexist generalisations about men. When I have spoken out - and others I know have spoken out - about the Sky Sports affair there has been no allusion whatsoever to 'all men' being sexist and 'all men' having those sorts of views about women and women in the workplace. Condemning all of us off the back of Loose Women is not the same, I'm afraid.

Dominic Raab may not think that workplace discrimination is much of a problem in 21st century Britain so I assume he hasn't seen the research which has shown how companies and HR departments attempt to filter out female applicants of childbearing age, or female applicants who are married. I assume he doesn't read below the line on news stories about parental leave and workplace equality when commenters hold forth with their opinion that 'no company should even bother employing women in their 20s and 30s because they're only going to get pregnant' or my personal favourite: 'I'm a woman and I am appalled at these women who think it's acceptable to get themselves pregnant and expect to keep a job'.

I am a married woman. I am in my 20s. I am aware that this doesn't bode well. A lot of people don't really think I should expect to get a decent job because I'm only going to go and get myself pregnant. Whether I want to have children or not (and whether I do is none of anyone's business) I'm the sort of person that plenty of people think managers should 'think twice' about employing purely because I'm in posession of a womb and a partner.

When women manage to get past this and find a job with a company that treats them like a human being, they're still faced with the sort of people who think that they probably aren't very good at their job because they're a woman. Because they have no technical knowledge and don't have the right sort of 'wiring' for maths and engineering. Because sports are for men and because they have 'no spatial awareness'. Because they're supposedly physically weaker or because they menstruate or because they're 'too emotional'. Because 'female managers are bitches'.

All of this, of course, pales in comparison to whatever happens on Loose Women. Just lighten up ladies, it was only a blokey joke about a female linesman.

Dominic Raab thinks sexism is a thing of the past. Tell that to Sian Massey et al.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

The award for 'Most Unbelieveably Ridiculous Statement of the Week' just has to go to Tory MP Dominic Raab, who on Monday hit out against feminists, branding them 'obnoxious bigots' whose actions have led to men suffering discrimination 'from the cradle to the grave'.

In an article for Politics Home he called on men to 'burn their briefs' in protest at the way they're getting a 'raw deal', using examples such as underperformance of boys in school and the inequality of maternity and paternity leave to justify his viewpoint.

How that's the fault of feminists I'm not yet sure and I think Mr Raab would find that many of us would actually agree with his comments about issues like parental leave and gender stereotyping. But the main theme of his article seem to be proving that gender inequality doesn't really exist in British society any more - including insinuating that the gender pay gap is down to 'choice' - and that most 'right-thinking' people should know there are more important things to fight for.

Invoking a whole bunch of straw feminists and accusing them of 'outdated gender warfare', he has called for a more 'practical' approach to solving the problems the country's workforce and families are facing. In his mind this sort of practical approach would mean a more 'egalitarian' attitude to parental leave and 'consistent equality for men and women'.

After reading Raab's article I'm left wondering what he thinks most feminists are actually doing with their time, if not being committed to more egalitarian employment and family policies. He criticises people who make 'trite generalisations' about gender characteristics, using the 'Men from Mars and Women from Venus' stereotype, as if that's the sort of thing we spend our time doing, not speaking out against all ridiculous generalisations which of course do men a disservice as much as they do women.

It's interesting that he's chosen such a week as this to pretend that gender inequality doesn't exist. A week when we've just seen two football pundits suspended from commentating on the game due to the offensive comments they were heard making about a female match official and football executive Karren Brady.

Richard Keys and Andy Gray were recorded on Saturday insinuating that assistant referee Sian Massey probably wouldn't be aware of the ins and outs of the offside rule.

"Why is there a female linesman? Somebody's fucked up big," said Gray, somewhat charmingly.

They proceeded to discuss Massey's appearance, call another female referee 'hopeless' and mocked Karren Brady for complaining about sexism in the game.

The fight to end sexism in football has been going on for decades but many people were under the impression the situation had improved somewhat. These comments - made when the two men thought they were off-air, show this is clearly not the case. This article in the Guardian features the accounts of several women who work in football and it's obvious that the view of the game as some sort of boys' club still remains.

A disgusted Karren Brady told Radio 5 Live:

"What really upsets me is the fact that only females in our industry are judged by their gender and that is categorically wrong."

Yesterday the drama came to a head when it was announced that Andy Gray has been sacked - not just because of his comments about Massey, but due to further video evidence of an earlier incident of sexist behaviour coming to light. I believe Sky Sports made the right decision - repeated occurrences like this are beyond unacceptable and have revealed a concerning undercurrent of misogyny in football, even in these supposedly enlightened times.

Considering workplace discrimination is apparently not much of an issue any more, I wonder what Dominic Raab's take on the controversy is? I note that many of the tabloids have now taken to illustrating articles about Massey with photographs - taken from her Myspace - of her dancing on a night out or on the beach on holiday. Wearing a short skirt and tight top or swimwear. As opposed to, you know, pictures of her doing her job, which is what the story's actually about.

How about that for equality, Mr Raab?

This post originally appeared at BitchBuzz. Image via

Kenneth Tong: The aftermath

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

When Laura Yates wrote about Kenneth Tong for BitchBuzz last week, most people were still under the impression that he was a seriously unpleasant man on a mission to promote what he called 'managed anorexia' - along with diet pills which could supposedly help women shrink to size 0 in weeks - to the world.

But soon after, the legend of Tong took a truly weird twist: he announced via Twitter that his outrageous claims and opinions were part of a hoax made up to prove a point to a friend. Said Tong:

"The discussion centered round whether it was possible, to go from nowhere to be a globally recognized figure within a week harnessing the power of the internet and specifically Twitter...My friend said it wasn’t possible. I said it was. To prove him wrong, I decided as a hoax to promote via Twitter something that was universally appalling, I chose managed anorexia."

Tong - whose only previous claim to fame was that he had spent five days as a Big Brother contestant in 2009 - then withdrew from the limelight, leaving people debating over what the appropriate reaction to the whole debacle should be.

Much discussion centred on the interview that journalist Johann Hari had conducted with him just an hour before he came clean about his 'hoax'. Hari was keen for people to read the interview transcript, not only because it provided such an insight into Tong's thoroughly misogynist mind and beliefs but because he felt there was something more than slightly 'off' about the timing of it all.

In an article last week, he said:

"In our long discussion he passionately defended every word he had said, but when I told him that his arguments could kill young girls and expose him to serious legal liability, he visibly began to panic. When I spoke to him on the phone later in the day, after his ‘revelation’, he said “it was dangerous ground we were treading on, I can see that now” and begged me not to publish his comments. So I don’t believe it was a hoax at all – but that he was finally scared off by the legal implications of what he was saying and doing."

Hari invited readers to 'judge for themselves', blogging the entire transcript of his interview with Tong - which gave us a picture of someone who believes the only woman worth his 'respect' is his mother; that wealth and material goods are everything and that the fact he was once tried for rape (although acquitted) is somehow amusing. Despite the fact he pledged to donate money to eating disorders charity BEAT, Hari reported that the charity has not been contacted by Tong thus far.

In the wake of Tong's 'revelation', reactions across the internet and print media have been mixed. Journalists have ranged from writing about their concerns for eating disorder sufferers to discussing what they see as a completely over-the-top reaction to a pathetic man who doesn't deserve to be given the time of day.

There's been scorn, too, for angry bloggers and members of forums like Mumsnet, called 'hysterical' by some in their reaction to Tong's views. And some people dislike the concern being shown for the welfare of ED sufferers, calling it 'patronising', despite the fact that Johann Hari has written of the hundreds of messages he has received, thanking him for his support and in some cases telling him how Tong's words had been severely triggering to them.

Tong's antics certainly did prove how the power of the internet can be harnessed in a very short space of time to cause outrage, involving medical professionals, the media and celebrities in the process. If he truly had set out to prove a point to a friend, he was right.

One thing's for sure - the media reaction to his stunt has revealed a great deal of hypocrisy. Many newspapers and magazines were keen to interview him, no doubt to express outrage. Yet they're the ones promoting faddy diets, dubious pills and miracle weight loss solutions otherwise known as starvation every week.

Grazia magazine, which last year regaled readers with Kate Bosworth's 'secret' to a perfect bikini body - only eating three bites of 'bad' meals - recently ran a story on a diet plan to shift those Christmas pounds. The diet, which they called the 'on/off diet' involved ingesting 400 calories on alternate days and cutting back food on the days in between.

We all know that 400 calories isn't a diet. Let's be honest, is promoting eating habits like this any better than what Kenneth Tong was doing? Fair enough, women's magazines tend to come without the brutally in-your-face misogyny, but they're just as guilty of encouraging unhealthy and dangerous eating habits and heaping pressure on readers to look a certain way.

Shame, too, on the tabloids which have been at the centre of the handwringing. They're the worst culprits for featuring countless stories analysing the bodies and of famous women.

Just last week, the Daily Mail featured photographs of self-confessed eating disorder sufferer Amy Winehouse, with a headline screaming that she was looking 'bloated' and showing 'signs of overindulgence'. Which is of course what everyone who has ever struggled with bulimia wants to read about themselves.

Kenneth Tong may be a nasty piece of work, but sometimes you have to wonder if the publications denouncing him are really much better.

This post originally appeared at BitchBuzz. Image via jaimelondonboy's Flickr.

Female Christian bloggers: a rare breed?

Thursday, 13 January 2011

What does the apparent absence of high profile female Christian bloggers in the UK tell us?

Lesley Fellows blogged this morning about the sadly short list of them that she was aware of and it's generated some discussion throughout the day.

As is the case with political blogging, I often think it’s not so much a case of there being no female Christian bloggers, it’s that they don’t have such a high profile. I have to admit, I have struggled somewhat when trying to find them in the past and haven’t really known where to look. And in a religion which is still so patriarchal, is there any wonder? On the blog aggregator of the group of churches I was once a part of, there are 122 UK bloggers listed. 19 of them are female. I wonder if this is a natural consequence of not allowing women to hold leadership positions, seeing as so many Christian blogs are written from the point of view of being a church leader or member of the clergy.

On the other hand, there is no shortage of blogs written by conservative and fundamentalist Christian women in the USA, where blogs devoted to the conservative ideal of ‘Biblical womanhood’ (and associated topics such as homeschooling, frugal living, courtship and modest clothing) are big business – so clearly views about gender roles are no barrier to blogging and indeed, having an extremely popular site. With this not being a Christian ‘trend’ in the UK, it’s just not something you see much of this side of the pond.

It is true that Christianity-themed blogs by women seem to be few and far between but I suspect that there are a lot more which, while written by Christian women, are not ‘blogs about Christianity’. Mine is one of these and while I have written a lot of posts about my faith, the blog as a whole tends to have three strands: Christianity, feminism and media. For some people, blogging about their religion means they write about personal faith and how it affects their life and their family. For others, that means writing about the latest religious news and providing comment.

When the lists of ‘top blogs’ hit the web, it’s the latter which will feature heavily as ‘ones to watch’, but in fact there are many more of the former. I think it has to be looked at in the same way as the issue of women and political blogging – it’s not that it’s not happening, it’s that women are engaging online far more in ways which are less prominent because they will always be seen as less ‘serious’ or ‘credible’ than men, unless they happen to be an academic or renowned expert.

In a conversation on Twitter, Lesley told me that she felt it was a question of confidence and that women are often concerned about appearing to be ‘strident or opinionated or competitive’. I agree with her - and I wondered whether this might have anything to do with particular attitudes fostered in churches. I do believe that even in the most encouraging and inclusive church environments, it can be difficult for women to really step out and be confident in who they are because of certain messages given out and attitudes displayed. I think it’s a major reason why you see fewer women in roles of responsibility even in the most egalitarian of churches: deep down, there’s still a worry that putting yourself out there and being confident isn’t quite right and that remaining quietly in the background is the best place for women.

We all know the reactions that a woman with a strong and opinionated character can receive – and that they range from ‘slightly disapproving’ to ‘downright abusive’. This is highly likely to come into play if people believe that by offering opinions about scripture and doctrine, a woman is attempting to exercise spiritual authority over men - which they believe is wrong. When it comes to self-promotion and joining blogrolls, it might be the case that women do not want to open themselves up to this, especially if they see a group of blogs dominated by male voices. One of the things that's most important to me is seeing women really encouraged in their gifts by their churches and religious leaders and if this means being opinionated and confident, so be it as far as I'm concerned.

The general consensus in the comments on Lesley’s post seemed to be that women are less likely to blog for ‘status’ and rankings and more likely to blog ‘for themselves’, which might explain the lack of ‘high profile’ blogs written by women. As someone who isn’t remotely competitive I can understand this, but I don’t think that it’s necessarily a female trait, as anyone who reads a wide range of blogs written by women would tell you. There are more of us, in general, blogging and communicating online than men and competition between a great number of these blogs is fierce. Plenty of commenters also agreed with my point above that they tend to blog about a wide range of subjects and therefore would probably not be considered simply a ‘Christian blogger’.

It was really good to read Lesley’s post because it ended up providing plenty of recommendations for Christian women in the UK who blog and Tweet – which can only be a good thing. I was aware of only around half of them before reading the post, so it does show that there really are more of us out there. It is so easy for our voices to go unheard.

Mail Fail of the Day: the blame game

"Why do mothers get the blame for everything?" asks Tanith Carey in today's Daily Mail. She laments the fact that men, celebrities and society as a whole heap blame on mothers for everything that goes wrong - whether that's for being a 'selfish' working mother and not getting the kids to bed on time to not being emotionally involved enough and causing all sorts of 'issues' for their children when they reach adulthood. She laments the fact that mothers put so much pressure on themselves to be 'perfect'.

She has a fair point, but i wonder why the Mail needs to ask such a question. After all, it's one of the biggest culprits when it comes to the culture of maternal blame we see so often in the media. Usually, it has to be said, the blame comes in the form of that old Mail favourite, the dubious 'study', but why bother reporting them? Looking back through the archives (I know, I know) it becomes obvious that there's not just a trend for blaming mothers for society's ills - but working mothers in particular. Not that we should be surprised, but it's kind of relentless:

- 'Working mothers are to blame if their children misbehave' says a leading psychologist
- Working mums beware: Why children of stay-at-home mothers have healthier lifestyles
- Working mothers 'put children at risk with low-quality childcare' says UN report
- How society 'suffers while mothers are out working'
- Working mothers risk damaging their child's prospects
- Children of working mothers lag behind
- Children of working mothers are telly tubbies: Obesity concerns for latchkey kids
- Mothers' smoking is to blame for up to 90% of cot deaths
- Glass ceiling? We've only ourselves to blame
- How hysterical mothers have driven men out of teaching
- I've made my daughter hate her body: They call it 'thin-heritance' - how mothers pass on their dieting obsessions
- Mothers' birth choices linked to rise in childhood diabetes
- It's liberal mothers who are the real dopes
- Children of part-time mothers 'less obese than those of stay-at-home mums'
- Mothers are raising a generation of wimps
- 'The modern disease of pushy mothers', by Kirsty Young
- 'Emma Thompson's right. And it's children who pay for the 'having it all' lie, says FAY WELDON
- 'Superwoman is a myth' say modern women because 'family life suffers with working mums'

Yet another instance where the newspaper could really do with taking a long hard look at itself as the cause of certain problems. It's no wonder mothers are anxious that they're 'to blame' for everything.

Debating digital equality at NetrootsUK

Monday, 10 January 2011

Westminster, as a rule, isn't too friendly to women and its culture is often accused of shutting us out, refusing to adapt and become more inclusive. Those who 'get in' become targets for ridicule and abuse from all sides and not simply based on their ability as MPs. They're patronised at every opportunity whether they're Blair's Babes or Cameron's Cuties. Their ability to function as a mother or wife is called into question because they combine it with politics and their clothes and bodies are analysed as if they're vitally important to the political landscape.

The result is marginalisation for the women outside of Westminster who see this happening. We saw last year's election hailed as the 'Mumsnet election', the one that would hinge on women's views. Why? Because they thought we might care about politics for once because of the welfare of families that was at stake. The media talked to women on the street and newspapers appealed for women who were concerned about the outcome of the election to come forward and talk to them. The result of this was one patronising feature after another (in the 'women's pages', of course) which again reduced women's concerns about the political landscape to worries about their children (not that there is anything wrong with women's concerns for their children, but we are interested in other areas of policy, don't you know).

The most coverage we saw connecting women and politics during the last election was tedious analysis of the leaders' wives and their sartorial choices. At the same time, the majority of major political issues were written about by men. Men were interviewed to find out what they thought about these issues and they appeared in the 'UK news' pages of the newspapers and on the major blogs, just like all good 'men's issues' always do.

So bearing this in mind, we fast forward to the beginning of 2011 and NetrootsUK and we're sitting in a room on the very top floor of Congress House. The burning question of the afternoon is "How can women get engaged online?" and everyone is pretty irritated because it's obvious that we are engaged online already. Lisa Ansell gives a fantastic breakdown of just why the focus of the discussion has been misjudged. She talks about the fact that the major political blogs focus on events and situations which exclude the majority of people from discussion. They focus on party politics and Westminster, ignoring all the other blogs and forums and social networking sites out there where people from all backgrounds with a variety of interests are engaging in political discussion outside of the cliquey world of political blogging, dominated as it is by white middle-class men and their preoccupation with the main parties.

It's obvious that plenty of women are engaged online and you don't have to look very hard to see evidence of this. A workshop at NetrootsUK wasn't the best place to ask such a question. The real question is: How can we stop the marginalisation of women who are engaged online?. How do we stop any issue a woman has an opinion on being sidelined as a 'women's issue' and therefore a 'less important issue', a 'non-issue' even? How do we effect change in the way women are treated online so they can take part in debate without being subject to disgusting insults or patronised by men who think it's amusing to call them 'dear' or tell them they're being 'hysterical'? How do we get people to listen so that posts and articles written by women get just as much attention for the right reasons and not simply because they're being targeted by misogynist trolls?

The situation is such that women can write about certain issues repeatedly and their opinions will be ignored or ridiculed. But when a man writes about the same issue, holding the same sort of opinion, the people who ignored women's views on it will hail him as some sort of visionary and congratulate him for writing such a spot-on piece of journalism. At the very least, no-one will call him hysterical, nor will they threaten to rape him. That's what we face and that's why so many women feel discouraged when they attempt to get more involved. That's why the major politics blogs have fewer female writers and commenters.

These are things which need to be discussed, but not just in one workshop attended overwhelmingly by women. As Lisa said, women all over the country of every political persuasion and none at all are suffering right now. They are going to suffer further and they are speaking up about it, writing about it and involving themselves just as much as men, but they will be ignored online as long as the current culture surrounding high-profile activism and blogging remains the way it is now, Westminster-obsessed and insular to the point where consideration of people who just might not have access to the internet is something of a rarity.

Incidentally I'm not making this post to snipe about that particular issue and I did enjoy my day at Netroots. It was a really useful day for me and provided some great opportunities to discuss and plan some projects for the year ahead - and I do mean that. But it was just today that I was reading a thread on Mumsnet where women were talking about how much they care about the political issues affecting the country right now - and just because they don't talk about ideology and party politics all day it doesn't mean they're less political or less educated about it all or that they have no interest.

As women who feel marginalised in all this we can sit and discuss it from our point of view until we're blue in the face and believe me, we did, both during the workshop and at length during the networking session after the conference as well as online. What we need is for the discussions to take place outside one workshop in one small room and in a space where those who contribute to this marginalisation can hear what we've got to say and hopefully take note, rather than roll their eyes and point out that they're as inclusive as they come before going back to talking about their proper, serious 'big' political issues. Laurie Penny pointed out that all issues are 'women's issues' and that they need to be treated as such by those that wield the power. She also pointed out that we must not forget our strength and the power we do have no matter how discouraging things get, which is something important to remember at times like this.

There were men present at the digital equality workshop and from reading their tweets at the time I know they were stirred by what they heard. I know they were extremely interested and inspired by what Lisa and the other speakers had to say. It would have been even better if more men had been able to be there to listen and to take part, which could have happened if more prominence was given to discussing digital equality and more women were given a chance to speak in general.

Going forward more consideration needs to be given to ensure even greater diversity and a commitment to equality (and not just gender equality) over all sessions and workshops at events like NetrootsUK, particularly in light of the way the cuts are currently affecting and set to affect women. Weighing heavy on our minds is the fact that over 70% of revenue from cuts to benefits and tax changes will come out of women's pockets. The fact that more women work in the public sector and the fact that their wages are lower than men's to start with. These points alone should have meant that women were better represented and given more of a voice at the conference instead of being given one session to themselves to discuss how they can get involved online.

On Saturday and since many people I know have been discussing the challenges of ensuring there is even more diversity at events like NetrootsUK and it would be great to see a commitment to making this happen next time. Otherwise there is little point in getting women together to discuss being marginalised, when those who can help stop that marginalisation are not there to participate and listen. We are engaged online - women use the internet much more than men - and a strategy to get more engaged isn't what's needed. What's needed is support, a commitment to acknowledging we exist and that what we say is worth listening to- and above all a commitment to treat us as equals, with respect and to call out those for whom using misogyny is routine.

Geraldine Doyle: Death of a Cultural Icon

Friday, 7 January 2011

I have to admit that I'd never heard the name 'Geraldine Doyle' until last week, when a flurry of tweets and links to news stories informed me of her death. Mrs Doyle was an 86-year-old great-grandmother from Lansing, Michigan who died on December 26th and her name might not have been famous but her face certainly was.

That's because Geraldine Doyle was the real-life inspiration for the iconic WWII poster showing a female factory worker alongside the slogan 'We Can Do It'. At the age of 17 she was working as a metal presser at a factory near Ann Arbor when a photographer captured her. This image was later used by artist J Howard Miller to create the 1942 poster which has since become a symbol of the women who, as a result of the war, found themselves doing work which would previously have been considered a 'job for a man'.

During the war the poster was displayed locally as a motivational image and had no particular association with 'Rosie the Riveter', the term used to describe the women who took to previously male-dominated jobs with gusto during the war years. In fact, it was only in later decades, when the poster became associated with the women's rights movement, that the image of Geraldine began to be referred to as 'Rosie'.

It was only around this time, when her image was being used to inspire a new generation of women in the workplace, that Geraldine realised her face had become famous. In 1982 she was looking at a magazine which featured the poster and was surprised to recognise her youthful self.

As her daughter Stephanie told local newspapers last week, Geraldine was a strong and inspirational woman who always quick to point out that she was simply the 'We Can Do It girl' and just one of millions of 'Rosies' who made a vital contribution to the war effort.

Her death has prompted discussion from surviving factory workers who have talked to the press about the inspiration they derived from depictions of Rosie during the war, making them feel empowered and as if they 'could do anything'. For them, the war meant new opportunities and throwing off old constraints that limited their career choices.

Of course, in the years following the war many women who had joined the workforce found they were not treated with the same respect once men returned home and the 1950s were to become a decade feminists today characterize by oppressive attitudes towards women and the choices they could make. However, the example set by the real-life 'Rosies' and the experiences they passed on to their daughters were to impact the lives of women in a major way.

Many of the women who are often seen as having led the charge towards women's rights in education, the workplace, reproduction and marriage were born in the 1940s and are often thought of as 'Rosie's daughters' - indeed you can buy a book of the same name, which tells the stories of some of the women who helped to effect some of the greatest social changes the USA saw in the 20th century.

Today, the poster of Geraldine remains as famous as the symbolic character of Rosie, stuck on thousands of bedroom walls, reproduced on t-shirts and hoodies, on mouse mats and mugs and tote bags. The Rosie the Riveter Trust commemorates the lives of the 'Rosies' and the contribution they made to the war. And a summer camp organisation called Rosie's Girls provides opportunities for middle-school aged girls to "Explore educational and career fields that are considered non-traditional careers for women such as welding, engineering, firefighting, auto technology, electrical wiring, and digital media".

Her story has provided a fascinating insight into the lives of many other women of the 'Greatest Generation' and as someone who wasn't fully aware of all the history behind it, it's been interesting to learn of the evolution of 'Rosie', from the face of the Home Front to feminist icon. Considering she didn't know about her link to the poster for 40 years, it's wonderful that Geraldine's name will now live on.

You can see photographs of real-life 'Rosies' at work from the Library of Congress on Flickr.

This post originally appeared at BitchBuzz. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

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