Convincing men to join the armed forces was not the only type of recruitment occurring during the world wars, propaganda posters also target women workers. Traditionally a male domain, factory work experienced a strong decline in available labor as men left to fight on the front. Manufacturing needed to continue, and women seemed the only option for replacing the workers off fighting. Posters recruiting women into the work force try to change society's views about women working and convince women of their importance in the war effort.
A Second World War British poster, Women
of Britain Come Into the Factories (1939-45), attempts to show women their
involvement in factory work will be needed and socially acceptable during
times of war. The huge figure of a female factory worker centered in the
composition gains heroic scale from the low view point and upward tilt
of her face. Her outstretched arms invite the audience into the scene and
suggest the V of victory. All the male aspects of factory work are de-emphasized,
separating the female worker from all signs of industrial machinery and
dirt. The diminutive background factory fades next to the largeness of
the female worker who is made to look attractively modish. The artists
tries to conceal the social conflicts caused by the recruitment of women
into the work force.
|Poster artists draw on mythical female characters, creating images of women reminiscent of ancient Greek deities, warriors and patriots. One of the most famous images of female victory comes from the French Revolution and refers to the mythic figure of Marianne and of Victory. Harrison C. Fisher's poster, I Summon You to Comradeship in the Red Cross, transforms the French patriot image into the modern nurse. Fisher depicts a beautiful and healthy young woman, with a flawless complexion and comely figure. Again, the artist shows no actual signs of work, only the all white ensemble hints at the possibility of a nurse's uniform. The white clothing also acts to emphasize the woman's goodness and alludes to mythical goddesses clad in white togas. The flag clutched against the woman's breast serves to remind women of the overwhelming feeling of patriotism they should be experiencing, and glamorizes the idea of "work."|