ICONS ARE BETTER #8: WE CAN DO IT!
The We Can Do It poster. You know the one. Yellow background, lady in the blue shirt and red and white dotted hanky in her hair with the tough-as-nails eyes; the big speech bubble above that shouts ‘We Can Do It!’
To put it into perspective, it was born at a time when a woman would be sacked immediately if she got married whilst working. Started as wartime propaganda to boost both male and female workers’ morale during America’s war effort, the poster was then re-appropriated by the 1980s’ feminist movement.
What used to encourage a collective effort had now gained a much more symbolic meaning: women demand equality once and for all. I think it’s iconic for a variety of reasons: because it’s a great example of timeless advertising, because its multi-purpose throughout the decades is testament to the strength of its message and because it turns the stereotype of ‘the weaker sex’ right onto its tired old head.
Considering the most recent research into the gender pay gap shows women across the world still earning 77% of the amount paid to men – an only 3% rise in the past 20 years. – this icon’s job might not yet be done.
Matilde Pratesi – Social Media Strategist at mcgarrybowen
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