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“From Rosie to Lucy” by James West Davidson Essay

The chapter, From Rosie to Lucy, by James West Davidson and Mark Hamilton Lytle, is about how the feminine mystique changed drastically from the era of WWII to the era of the baby boom. The shift was attributed to men’s influence on the women through fashion trends, magazines, and TV shows. The main purpose of the chapter is to show that the propaganda through TV and society affected individuals, and more specifically the feminine mystique. In the first section of the chapter the authors talk about how during World War II women made great strides toward becoming equals with men. They did this by going to work in factories. Women in the work place were not uncommon before the WWII era, but the actual women working in the factories changed. Before the WWII era majority of the women working in the factories were young, single women, but then that shifted to older, married women. Of the 6.5 million women in the work force more than half of them were the older, married women during this time period.

And they were influenced to work in the factories not only because of society pressures, but because of the propaganda posters and ads about “Rosie the Riveter” who was a strong woman who worked in the factories and other jobs. This gave women more civil rights than before. However, when the war ended and all the fighting males came back many of the women were pushed out of the factories and back to their home lives. This also meant that many of the rights and authorities that they had gained were expunged. The female mystique changed from working hard in the factory to support the men overseas to working hard in the home to support the men at work.

The next section of the chapter is about these pressures that influenced the women to go into the workforce, as well as to leave the workforce. The women started to lose their place and started to want to become more home moms because the propaganda like TV shows and magazines, which were made mostly by men, pushed the women to it. The new feminine mystique said that women must stay at home and nurture their children or else the child will turn out bad. The old feminine mystique, before the wars end was a woman would have “strength in her hands, pride in her carriage and nobility in the lift of her chin.” This change was caused because the old Rosie figure changed.


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