Recently, Proctor and Gamble was criticized for releasing a print ad for Swiffer cleaning products featuring a woman dressed to look like the famous “Rosie the Riveter”.
The original Rosie is an icon for working women, and this ad unfortunately makes it clear that Proctor and Gamble has no issues appropriating Rosie to sell products. What’s more unfortunate is that they’re selling products for housework, which was historically relegated to women — exactly the opposite of what the Rosie the Riveter character represented. As a result of the criticism, P&G released a statement that it was not their intention to offend anyone, but the situation brings to mind a deeper question: Has the image of Rosie the Riveter been watered down over the years? I appreciate that the character still has staying power, 70 years after it’s creation. I’d also be disappointed to see Rosie disappear from popular culture. I would be thrilled, however, to never see Rosie’s image used to promote consumer items ever again.