An Uninspiring Message from an Apathetic Rosie the Riveter

Rosie the Riveter

Listen up, ladies.

I actually don’t think we CAN do it.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve got my bandana; I’ve got my game face; I’ve got the sleeve of my denim shirt rolled up to my bicep and just begging to be coated with the sweat of American freedom.

But I’ve got some serious doubts about the purpose of it all.

I mean, SHOULD we do it? At the end of the day, is it really worth it?

Let’s look at this objectively.

Women are things.

I know, I know, that’s a horrible thing to say. It’s a horrible thing to say, and all of you ladies currently making bombs with your thimbles and the children gestating in your wombs are probably disagreeing at the tops of your voices.

But we’re the clothes hangers. We’re the wet nurses. We exist as pin-ups, as Madonnas and Whores, as the sexual symbols for generation upon generation of our male counterparts to idolize, to worship, to use. If you want respect, however, or an opinion, or a public voice…sorry, sister, you’re out of luck.

Really, we need men. We need them. We need them to father our children; we need them to make the money; we need them to fight the Germans and protect the Homefront and make the world Safe for Democracy. Sure, we’re lending a hand. We’re doing our best in their absence to Save the Day and End the War, but it’s more like when we let our little ones “help” in the kitchen.

Wow, Women, what a great job you’re doing! The Men sure are proud of you! You…just look at you! You’re so capable! You’re so strong! Hold that wrench, Rosie…you even know the right way to turn it!!!

You know what will happen the second they return, though? The planet will go right on a’turnin’, and we’ll be back to baking and basting and breastfeeding, the grease on our hands swirling down the bathroom sink drain and all our dreams crushed like Edelweiss under a Nazi’s boot.

So, actually, it really doesn’t matter if we do it. What will we get out of it? A small sliver of American history to call our own, overshadowed by carnage on the beaches of Normandy and that harlot in Times Square getting kissed against her will on Armistice Day?

Let them handle this one themselves, that’s my opinion. Let our husbands and brothers and sons make the munitions and the engines and the rivets. Let them be responsible for providing the guns and the butter and give us a much-deserved breather. Let THEM take care of US for a change.

After all, haven’t we been looking after them for as long as collective memory stretches back? Didn’t we birth them, rear them, and nurture them? Don’t we make their eggs and wash their socks and lie there looking relatively content while they screw us? Seriously, what MORE do we have to do?

I mean, I know, we have a patriotic duty. Just like everything ELSE is our goddamn job, apparently sheltering the country is our job as well. But let’s really examine it for a minute.

It’s not like we’re getting paid equally. It’s not like any of our husbands and brothers and sons are around to really appreciate what we’re doing. And it’s not like we’ll get to stay in the workforce when they get back. Ten minutes after the Fuhrer is captured, we’ll be back to arguing over who has the cutest hat or window dressing or spawn, and it’ll be like nothing ever happened.

We’ll sit in the linoleum-coated kitchens of our Levittowns, staring wistfully out the window and remembering when we actually mattered for a grand total of ten minutes in the greater scheme of things. We’ll be members of the Greatest and Strongest Country in the World, but our celebration will be Tupperware parties and children’s birthday gatherings and the blissful relief of the occasional tranquilizer. Our husbands and brothers and sons will drink scotch and reminisce about the good ol’ days with their rifles and their nationalism, and our efforts…so monumental at the time, so important to the war effort…will be wholly insignificant.

So, then, I ask you. We might be capable of doing it; we might think about doing it; we may even, in certain moments and in certain moods, want to do it. But I really wonder in my heart of hearts if we should.

So, I leave it up to you to decide.

If you want to do it, more power to you. But if you’d rather stay at home with your feet up after a long day of vacuuming and dishwashing and a nice beverage warming your hand, I’d totally understand.

In fact, I think I’m going to take this hideous icon of feminine progress out of my hair and have me a nice nap. Let me know when my husband gets back. I could use twenty dollars for the market and a nice protector. Peace out.

Shannon Frost Greenstein is a former doctoral philosophy candidate and current office peon who laments how her years of schooling are wasted on the doldrums of administrative nonprofit nonsense. She aspires to pay off her student loans with her writing while simultaneously finishing the Next Great American Novel and acquiring more cats. She does NOT presently have too many cats, despite her husband’s opinion on the matter. She enjoys good wine, Nietzsche, literature, film, and irony.

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