This Day in Death

4.21.15: ‘Rosie the Riveter’ Model Mary Doyle Keefe – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 3:31 pm April 24, 2015

MARY_DOYLE_KEEFEKeefe, next to the iconic image of strong, hardworking American women. Not pictured: Rosie’s unemployed husband, who’s “totally gonna get the band going for real this time.” 


Sad news from the art world, which is too bad because they’re normally so happy about things. Mary Doyle Keefe, the model for Norman Rockwell’s painting of Rosie the Riveter, has died at the age of 92. Originally conceived as a song supporting the efforts of American working women during World War II, the character has been adopted into other mediums and has become a symbol of sisters doin’ it for themselves. Well, provided they have giant, burly man arms, which seems to be sending kind of a mixed message:

Rockwell’s iconic work that honored women who worked on the home front featured a muscular-armed figure much larger than Keefe was in real life. Years later, Rockwell wrote a note to Keefe saying she was the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen and explaining that he needed the image to depict strength, the Courant reported.

“I did have to make you into sort of a giant,” Rockwell wrote.

It’s worth noting that, despite depicting essentially the same character, Rockwell’s painting is actually not directly related to the probably more well-known “We Can Do It!” Rosie poster. That’s because Rockwell’s estate is supposedly pretty intense about copyright protection and largely kept the image out of public view unless they were seeing some fat stacks of paper for it. Hey, the harsh reality is that inspiring people is strictly a for-profit industry. You think that kitten has been hanging in there all this time for fun?

Whichever version of the character you’re familiar with, I think there’s one universal truth we can all agree on: There is no lazier costume for an uncreative woman on Halloween than Rosie the Riveter. Every costume shop in the country should just get it over with and change their name to “Red Headscarves, Tired-Ass Zombie Make-Up, and Whatever Marvel Character Just Had a Movie” because that’s all I ever see you boring people wearing in October. As usual, let me do your legwork and present you with some totally baller alternative things you can dress up as for Halloween:

  • A Venn diagram
  • A reverse human centipede (that is, a bunch of centipedes sewn together into a person)
  • The original, shitty version of Batman
  • A semaphore flagger who only communicates via arm gestures
  • The Predator wearing a confusingly meta t-shirt:


Whatever, the point is I’m trying. I’m like a modern day Rosie myself, the only difference is that nobody’s dressing up like me. Well, that and the fact that I can’t perform physical labor. It seems I actually have hollow bird bones and they’ll shatter like Fabergé eggs under the slightest pressure. Or at least that’s how I got out of my military enlistment contract, suckers!

Source: USA Today

Tags: , ,