Rosie the Riveter is known feminist icon and war poster. The poster featured a brown-haired woman with her hair wrapped up in a red and white polka dot bandana, she’s wearing a blue collar shirt, flexing her bicep and declaring “We can do it!”
The poster that originally painted by Pittsburgh artist J Howard Miller and published in magazines in 1943 during World War II when women had to go to work while the men were fighting. The woman who Rosie was modeled after, Naomi Parker Fraley passed away this week. She was 96-years-old.
R.I.P. ♀❤️ Naomi Parker Fraley, the woman who inspired the iconic female WWII factory worker #RosieTheRiveter, has passed away at age 96. “The women of this country these days need some icons. If they think I’m one, I’m happy about that,” she told PEOPLE in 2016. Naomi's poster has become a symbol of modern feminism—so in her honor, tag all of the strong women you know. 💪🏻💪🏼💪🏽💪🏾💪🏿 |📷: Ramona Rosales
Miller never credited the woman who inspired Rosie, so there has been a debate about who the real Rosie the Riveter is. It was originally believed that the late Geraldine Doyle was the original Rosie the Riveter, but turns out she wasn’t.
Associate Professor of communication at Seton Hall University, James Kimble took it upon himself to find out who the real Rosie was. “I had said in that research that almost everything we know about that poster is wrong,” Kimble told BBC. “So when Doyle died in 2010, there were all these obituaries. I of course thought, how do we know she’s really the model? What’s the proof? It was the rabbit hole calling to me.”
Six years of research Kimble finally found who the real Rosie was and it was Parker Fraley. In 2016 Parker Fraley finally got recognition as being behind one of the most iconic images of all time. This photo of her working at the Naval Air Station in Alameda, California was the inspiration behind Rosie.
From the NY Times: Naomi Parker Fraley, the Real Rosie the Riveter Dies "The women of this country these days need some icons, if they think I'm one, I'm happy." We honor the life of this iconic woman and metalworker, and are reminded that, together – WE CAN DO IT! – – #rosietheriveter #metalsmith #metalwork #feminist #industry #hero #inspiration #wecandoit #strongwomen #madeinusa #lathe #nytimes #americanicon
Parker Fraley passed away on Saturday, January 20, 2018, but there is no doubt her image will live on as a staple of pop culture forever.