The spirit of Rosie, and the winds of change

The Artdog Image of Interest

World War II was a time to step up. Everyone sacrificed. Everyone did their part. No “war on a credit card” for the so-called Greatest Generation. Millions of American women–including, for the first time, middle-class, white, married women–did just that: they stepped out of their comfort zones to take industrial jobs when the vast majority of American men went overseas to fight.

In doing so, they changed their own outlook, society’s understandings, and the world of working women forever.

This attitude was personified in an extremely popular 1943 song, Rosie the Riveter, by Redd Evans and John Jacob Loeb.

But Rosie really got her form from Norman Rockwell  in May, 1943.

Rockwell’s Memorial Day cover for The Saturday Evening Post captured the spirit of the song, and has resonated with more than one generation of women. Here’s a video about the painting, and the larger phenomenon, from the Library of Congress that I really found interesting. Please note, however: it’s almost 15 minutes long.

The iconic 1942 “We Can Do It!” poster from Westinghouse artist J. Howard Miller was later identified with Rosie; copyright issues made that image available much more readily than Rockwell’s painting, for several decades.

At the time, people warned that letting women do a man’s job would change things–and it certainly did. While the fight continues today for pay equity, and women still face discrimination of all sorts in the workplace, very few people today doubt that women can do things that go far outside the limits placed by traditional sex-role stereotypes.

In part, we have Rosie to thank for that.

IMAGES: Many thanks to Changing World’s VisionWorks, for the main image of Rockwell’s “Rosie.” Many thanks to YouTube and the Library of Congress for the informative video. (Also to YouTube and GlamourDaze for the video and song).


The Artdog Quote of the Week 

I wonder how many Republicans would endorse this idea today, much less act accordingly? But it’s a crucial balance to get into one’s head, because in society today we so often get these two backwards–to our own detriment.

IMAGE: Many thanks to Upworthy’s Pinterest Page. Also to the late President Abraham Lincoln.

Does your gift-wrap do impressions?

Artdog Images of Interest

While researching creative gift-wrapping strategies for this month’s series, I discovered an interesting sub-genre of creative wrapping approaches: gifts that look like something else.

Mary Dacuma’s creative gift-wrap evokes a chimney with stockings–your very own Santa-stop, whether your home has a fireplace or not.
Pair your chimney-and-stockings with a Santa suit, and everyone can say “Ho-ho-ho!” (also by Mary Dacuma)
No one will mind if this turns out to be a “stuffed shirt”–in fact, I suspect they’ll be pleased.
Your “Christmas shirt” can also sport suspenders . . . and candy “buttons,” too.
And speaking of candy, what sweeter way to disguise rolls of quarters (a great stocking-stuffer idea!) than this candy-roll look, attributed to Martha Stewart?

Although these clever disguises won’t fool anyone, I bet they’ll amuse some of their recipients–and the givers will get extra “points” for creative approaches. Challenge yourself: what kind of creative “impressions” can your gift-wrap do?

Blogger’s note: Life intervened lat week, and although I had planned this topic to be last Saturday’s post, I never got it posted. So sorry! But it’s still not Christmas yet, so I figured this would still be timely. I hope you agree!

IMAGES: Many thanks to Mary Dacuma and E-How, for the chimney-with-stockings and Santa-suit gift wrap ideas. For instructions on how to re-create these looks, check the E-How page. The “stuffed” Christmas shirt and the shirt-with-suspenders gift wrap ideas are both from Lawrie Gullion’s “Christmas” Pinterest page. The quarter rolls disguised as candy are attributed to Martha Stewart, though I couldn’t find a direct link to this photo on her page of gift-wrapping wonders; I found this photo on the Room-Mom 101 Pinterest page.

Please excuse my setup difficulties

I’m looking at a steep learning curve.

I have been advised to switch from Blogger to WordPress, so my blog can appear on my website. This is no small task, since I’ve been blogging for close to a decade on Blogger, at my Jan S. Gephardt’s Artdog Adventures blog.  

It’s been closer to twenty years, since I last set up a website. I’m looking at a steep learning curve and short periods of time to devote to this, so I predict an, um, interesting time. I think persistence is going to be my only hope.

I haven’t had time to look too deeply into creative solutions or design. So far, I’m still trying to figure out how to “import an XML file.” (I’m certain that means something clear and helpful to many people with a broader background in websites than I have).

Wish me luck!

IMAGE: Many thanks to “Marketing for Hippies,” for the highly appropriate image.

P.S. Meanwhile, please check out my current post on the Blogger site.

Can a Man REALLY be a Feminist?

Artemesia Gentileschi, (possible) self-
portrait as The Allegory of Painting.

In the creative fields, as well as in all others, women have had an uphill battle for equal consideration. 

A small sampling the not-so-widely-renowned names of painters Artemesia Gentileschi, Louise Bourgeois, or Berthe Morisot provides a good example. They worked alongside such male contemporaries as Caravaggio, Dali, and Renoir, and arguably were just as skilled and visionary. But you might note I only needed to list one name for each of the men, and you undoubtedly knew who I meant, if you have any background in art history. 

These women have become better known in recent years, but I challenge you to find them in an art textbook from the 1950s or ’60s. You’ll find loads of women in those textbooks–but they’ll be the models (the objects), not the artists.

Louise Bourgeois, part of the Femme Maison series.

You can find parallels in any field, not only the arts. In most of the world, for most of history, it has been a man’s world. Little wonder, then, that feminists for years have “closed the circle” and not been much interested in male input. 

Especially since I live in a relatively conservative part of the country, I am all too well familiar with the commonly-held belief that the term feminist has become a synonym for man-hater

Berthe Morisot, Portrait of the Artist’s
Mother and Sister.

Centuries of abuse and resentment will cause reactions of hatred and repudiation. But that’s ultimately a losing game for everyone, if attitudes toward the opposite gender do not evolve.

One of the great tragedies of contemporary life, in my opinion, is that more recent generations of young women have rejected calling themselves feminists, even while they enjoy many privileges they never would have had without the historic role of feminists.

How long will it take before the realization hits that if you exclude roughly half the population from the conversation–especially the half that, to this day, often holds most of the power–it’s going to be difficult to change the way society as a whole thinks. 

Why would a man ever have any interest in gender equality? Don’t they already have it pretty good? Well, yes and no. If you insist on strict gender stereotypes, then “being a man” is a pretty scary, dangerous, unhealthy thing to be (just look at the mortality statistics). A man may have more advantages in some ways, but he’s held to unrealistic, self-destructive standards, in others. 

Men aren’t given much credit when they show their feelings, take care of their children (other than paying their bills), or try to make peace instead of fighting or arguing, for example. Gender stereotypes force men to be domineering brutes, just as they force women into subservient roles. 

The UN’s “HeForShe” campaign, started in 2014, has received criticism for trying to include men in the conversation–not just because equality is good for women, but because it’s good for men, too. The campaign’s leaders may not always strike the right note for everyone (or for every situation), but it seems to me they’re asking the right questions. 

Perhaps feminist and feminism aren’t such accurate words for this new paradigm, given their single-gender emphasis, despite the fact that we usually focus on the relatively more disadvantaged female side of the equation. 

But gender equality itself is an idea that must ultimately prevail, if we (whatever our gender) are to live fully-realized and fulfilling lives. It’s good for women, and it’s actually good for men, too. It think it’s time to invite men into the discussion as equals.

IMAGES: Many thanks to that ever-bountiful resource, Wikipedia (please consider making a contribution)! The photo of the painting by Artemisia Gentileschi is from her Wikipedia page. The three images from Louise Bourgeois’ series Femme Maison are from the Wikipedia page devoted to that series. The photo of Berthe Morisot’s painting is from her Wikipedia page. And the logo for the HeForShe campaign is from the Wikipedia page about the program.

Heaven Help our Alien Overlords!

The famous Blue Marble image removes the
boundary lines, but does not change our
divisive human nature.

In the wake of Super Tuesday 2016, I think one conclusion is crystal clear. 

Decades of political theorists, science fiction writers, comic book creative teams, video game creators, and filmmakers have gotten it wrong. 

We will never have a one-government world, at least not on Earth. That idea is a figment of imaginations not sufficiently grounded in human nature.

The Inner Council of the United Planets: Nope. Never gonna happen for real.
(Of course the President of Earth is an old white dude) 

I know. Never is a long time, and science fiction does tend to think in terms of eons sometimes. But I’m not sure the Earth will last long enough for human nature to change so profoundly that everyone would willingly submit to a single, planet-wide government. The sun will turn into a red giant before that happens, I’m afraid.

We in the USA can’t even willingly submit to a nationwide government, lately. This marvelous David Parkins image from The Economist sums it up visually.

How about unwilling submission? Couldn’t that happen? The invasion by an alien armada, bent on domination of the Earth, is a standard trope of the genre. The vast power and overwhelming technology of the invaders would make its mastery of Earth inevitable. Right?

A classic Alien Overlord, backed by his militant legions, riding in their UFOs, as envisioned by HeroMachine forum member “Grail.”

For a while, maybe. For a thousand years or more? Good luck with that. Successful empires tend to last about 250 years on Earth, and go through six stages, as outlined by Sir John Bagot Glubb, in a small but relevant essay called The Fate of Empires

One might argue with Sir John’s value judgment that “larger territorial units are a benefit to commerce and to public stability,” and that, therefore, empires are generally beneficial. It’s less easy to argue against his conclusion that all empires eventually end in decadence and internal collapse, since he has history on his side, for that one. 

Robot, alien, or whatever, don’t try to conquer Earth and then use the humans as handy slaves. Humans are sneaky and have a lot of practice with hate.

That’s the thing about empires–at least, those involving Earthlings. At some point the conquered folk have to either be decimated or buy into the idea of the empire’s being a good thing, or the rot sets in even quicker. If allowed to survive, I think humans, who are primed by evolution to hate each other (and thus are quite practiced at it) will not hesitate to turn all their energies to making life difficult for their conquerors.

Whatever it takes, the humans will resist.

Makes for fun fiction, but it’s not likely to help maintain a world government. 

Sorry, Brain. It’ll never work out.

Many thanks to NASA for the iconic “Blue Marble” image of Planet Earth, and to The Comics Round Table for the Silver Age image of the Inner Council of the United Planets. 
I’m indebted to The Economist online edition for the wonderful David Parkins illustration; the article that goes with it is also well worth the read. 
Many thanks to Grail and Grail’s Gallery on the HeroMachine Forum, for the “Alien Overlord” image that so perfectly captures the trope under discussion! 
Equal thanks to the creators of the “Trust No One” image, originally posted on the Machine Overlords blog. 
I could NOT resist including the image “Rebels vs. Empire” from the VideoGamesUncovered post, “Top 5 Overused Sci-Fi Cliches in Gaming” (I couldn’t find the original source). 
And finally, many thanks to Giphy, for the image from Pinky and the Brain.

Artdog Image of Interest: Equality or Justice?

Exactly what do we mean, when we ask for equal opportunity?

IMAGE: Many thanks to Imgfave (from FunSubstance).