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Rosie the Riveter's Lipstick Story

Just For Redheads would like to acknowledge those women who have made sacrifices to keep America free. Whether you have lost loved ones or have sacrificed time with loved ones, JFR thanks you. God bless you and America!

Rosie the Riveter's Lipstick

During World War II, the US government called on women to help the war effort in numerous ways. In response to campaigns directed toward them specifically, women planted gardens, eventually creating "Victory Gardens." They also went to work in the factories. During this time, Rosie the Riveter was born. What is not well known is that women were called upon to use cosmetics in their war efforts. In fact the government saw cosmetics as so important to the war effort that cosmetics factories did not have their productions halted or restricted by the War Production Board like other companies. [1] Makeup was seen as a way to keep up morale--of both the troops and of those left behind. [2] Red lipstick, specifically, was popularized by the war effort and was seen as patriotic. [3][4]

Women in the military were expected to retain their femininity and to look their best in order to keep up the morale of the troops around them. One has only to view recruitment posters from WWII to see that red lipstick was frequently featured. [5] As a matter of fact, the military asked Elizabeth Arden to create a makeup kit for the American Marine Corps Women's Reserve. Her kit included a red lipstick, Montezuma Red, matching their scarlet red hat cord. She also created several more shades of red for the general public with inspirational names like "Victory Red." [3]

While women in the service had lipstick sent in their Red Cross packages, women at home were encouraged to buy war bonds, use ration points and can their own food with posters featuring feminine women in bright red lipstick. [5][6][7][8] Against a backdrop of soldier silhouettes, a woman wearing red lipstick carries her own groceries rather than use gasoline to drive. [9] Probably the most memorable publicity posters of WWII, however, are the posters featuring Rosie the Riveter encouraging women to get war jobs. Rosie exudes both strength and femininity. She tells women through scarlet lips, "We Can Do It!" -- a message that still rings true today. [10]

1. Niederriter, Adrienne (2009). ""Speak Softly and Carry a Lipstick:" Government Influence on Female Sexuality through Cosmetics During WWII." Web. 24 June 2013. . 2. "Beauty History: Women and Cosmetics During World War II." Beautiful with Brains. Web. 24 June 2013. . 3. Dallal, Faith (8 November 2010). "100 Years Behind the Iconic Red Door." Vanity Fair. Web. 24 June 2013. . 4. "Make up in the 1940s." Can't Help But Be. Web. 24 June 2013. . 5. "Myths and Facts." Blitzkrieg Baby. Web. 24 June 2013. . 6. Buy War Bonds Poster. Digital Image. Zazzle. Web. 24 June 2013. . 7. Make This Pledge Poster. Digital Image. Web. 24 June 2013. . 8. Of Course I Can Poster. Digital Image. History. Web. 24 June 2013. . 9. I'll Carry Mine Poster. Digital Image. Sindark. Web. 24 June 2013. . 10. Rosie the Riveter Poster. Digital Image. Zazzle. Web. 24 June 2013. .

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