Originally, Rosie the Riveter served as a symbol for women during WWII when women were working in the factories as the men served in the war. Rosie became a cultural symbol during this time for female strength and perseverance. Commonly, this symbol is used even today to represent feminism; to reinforce notions of female power and independence from men. When the image was first used, it read “We Can Do It!”, as a way to motivate women to continue their jobs, which were mainly more masculine roles. However, as we see with the image provided, the same Rosie the Riveter image is used to advertise for Clorox, the cleaning supplies company. Rather than using the original saying, Clorox replaced it with “GET THE POWER”. Both in the 1940s and currently, the icon is still used to promote female power, however in an entirely different way. During WWII, the “power” of women defined by their ability to push through the war efforts and to continue their roles in factories. However, in the image provided, the power of women has shifted to domestic roles. Thus, the role of women in this case has in many ways reverted back to the notions of “old school” female roles; where the place of women remained in the home doing domestic duties such as cleaning, cooking, and tending to the home while their male partners where back in the workforce making the money to support the family.
This is a clever usage of appropriation as the intent to motivate females for their duties is still present, but the duties implied from the original image as compared to the image provided here are drastically different. It can either be viewed as motivating or completely offensive towards women. It almost mocks women and their roles in the home; implying that cleaning is a duty that is meant for strong women, and Clorox products will give them the strength the complete these domestic duties. The same colors are used; using the bold yellow, blue, and red which are recognized colors by the general public in terms of this iconic character. However by changing the wording, the advertisement is still grabbing the reader’s attention, especially that of women, but the words reflect an entirely different message. Additionally, the patch on Rosie’s jacket is changed to that of the Clorox symbol, adding more to the advertisement and promoting the brand further. The physical bottles of the cleaning products are also added to the image, making the advertisement blatant as opposed to taking a more implicative approach. Thus Rosie’s empowering role is manipulated in such a way that shifts women’s roles from the forced masculine roles in the 1940s to the former domestic roles; placing women strictly in the home and their expected roles by society standards for the most part. This advertisement takes a classic role and molds it to fit their advertising purposes. By taking a common icon, it is easy for Clorox to advertise their products to the general public.