CHANGING IMAGES OF WOMEN'S ROLES



Canada Dry Ginger Ale toasts the
"Ladies" of the U.S. Armed Forces

Credit:  Women’s Memorial Foundation
The Saturday Evening Post magazine,
26 September 1942

Credit:  Women’s Memorial Foundation

In World War II, uniforms were the most visible sign that a woman was contributing in an important way to winning the war. Many women who wore uniforms were civilians employed in some capacity by the government or members of volunteer organizations. Uniforms helped unify the nation by conveying the message that there was an overriding national purpose that transcended social, economic, and regional differences.


 

 

The National Advertising Council promised that stories and advertisements for consumer products would promote enlistment in the military and volunteerism at home. The “idealized” America that was depicted by public relations firms and the media reflected a segregated society. Women of color participated in the Double V Campaign for victory over segregation at home as well as victory overseas.

Proctor & Gamble Ivory Soap Advertisement

Credit:  Women’s Memorial Foundation
Click image to see larger version
The American Magazine of 1945 shows that
women can be soldiers and feminine


Credit: Women's Memorial Foundation

Before World War II, the prevailing view of a woman’s role was that of wife and mother. Many occupations were reserved for men, and some states barred married women from holding jobs. The need to mobilize the entire population behind the war effort was so compelling that political and social leaders agreed that both women and men would have to change their perceptions of gender roles -- at least as long as there was a national emergency. Women were told that they must contribute in a wide variety of ways…
Cutex nail polish advertisement, "These Women -
1944’s best dressed— choose favorite Cutex Shade"


Credit:  Women’s Memorial Foundation


Pacific Worsted Woolens appealed to patriotism and femininity, helping to recruit for the Women's Army Corps.
Credit: Women’s Memorial Foundation
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