What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?

It’s almost Halloween people! It’s time to get thinking about your costume. Most people start thinking about sort of clever, funny costume or something really gory or scary. I have no capacity for these things. I am completely incapable of thinking of funny or scary costumes… except around the first or second week of November. But I never write these things down.

I have only ever dressed up for Halloween as  someone I would really like to be when I grow up. The two exceptions to this are the year I dressed up as a Kit-Kat bar and once I was a strawberry daiquiri. (As you would expect, it’s incredibly lame to dress up as a daiquiri.) The first costume I remember was when I was three. I dressed up as a witch. I wasn’t scary though. I was magnificent and magical. My tall black hat was covered in gold stars and moons. I’ve also been a Dancing Boot (our high school’s dance team- my sister was a Dancing Boot in high school aka I wanted to be my sister), Laura Ingalls Wilder, Belle from Beauty and the Beast (Rags to riches princess who loves to read? Yes, please.), a Greek goddess (Athena), a Victoria’s Secret model (poor choice, I know), a Pan Am stewardess, and Rosie the Riveter. These are just the ones I can remember.

Each of these costumes was something I, at one point ,really wanted to be. Laura Ingalls? Of course I wanted to be a strong pioneer woman! Athena? Goddess of wisdom, hello! Victoria’s Secret model? I was in high school and just wanted to be and feel sexy. Neither of these things is accomplished by wearing slutty underwear around town. Pan Am stewardess? This is what I think I would have done if I had lived in the late 50s, early 60s. I would have felt unable to follow a traditional family oriented plan of action but wouldn’t have been rebellious enough to just throw caution to the wind and become a beatnik poet/hippie.

This year, I’m at it again. In the spirit of one of my favorite films I’m going to find a way to be Rockford Peach. Watch out y’all!

So what do you want to be when you grow up?

laughing

dottie smile

Look at those Dancing Boots! Go Demons!

Look at those Dancing Boots! Go Demons!

Last year's Rosie the Riveter costume!

Last year’s Rosie the Riveter costume!

Rosie the Riveter: A History Lesson

The most disturbing that happened this week is that two people that I truly respect had no idea who Rosie the Riveter is. One, my boyfriend, couldn’t identify her by sight or by name. The other, my best friend, didn’t recognize te name. I had to explain her whole existence to her. Terrible. I had the sinking feeling that my friend would not be willing to describe herself as a feminist. As Rebecca West once said, “I myself have never been able to find out what feminism is; I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat or a prostitute.” Is feminism really still a dirty word? I know many perceive it as such, but it doesn’t make me any less sad.

The reason these conversations started is I was considering being Rosie the Riveter for Halloween. Now I have two conflicting emotions:

  1. I shouldn’t be Rosie because no one knows who she is.
  2. I should be Rosie because no one knows who she is.

If you have any questions about who Rosie the Riveter is, wikipedia it. Educate yourself for Christ’s sake.

Just kidding, I’ll sum it up. She’s a cultural icon who represents the female workers during World War II, many of whom were factory workers. Check out these lines from a song about Rosie:

All the day long,
Whether rain or shine
She’s part of the assembly line.
She’s making history,
Working for victory
Rosie the Riveter

So she’s a pretty impressive lady. She’s a hard worker, doing her part for the war effort and for women. She’s tough, proud and is part of something larger than herself. The original Rosie the Riveter was conceived by Norman Rockwell.

Rosie the Riveter first appeared in 1943

Later a war propaganda poster was mistaken for Rosie the Riveter and has since been mass adopted as such.

We Can Do It! poster now known as Rosie the Riveter

Both these images show strong women. These women aren’t dainty. They’re borderline beefy! But at the same time, each retains a feminine air. These images are, in my mind, characters in the American story- the way Uncle Sam is. Uncle Sam is a cartoon that represents the American government. These women are cartoon images that represent the strength of American women.

It disturbs me that modern day citizens may have forgotten these once popular icons. They are still necessary as we build the strength and confidence of women of today’s society. As the Aussies say “Lest We Forget”.