Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Moms Rising Logo: Racist and Archaic?

The other day, I came across a post over at Mama Noire (one of Jennifer James' blogs) that got me thinking, opened my eyes a little more. Let me just say there are few posts that really truly do that. She also posted something on Black Breastfeeding Blog, Check out the comments. Pretty great.

The Moms Rising logo, as Jennifer James points out
"The image of Rosie the Riveter bears no healthy significance for me as a woman, and especially as a black mother."

I can very much see her point. Perhaps it was completely unintentional on the part of Moms Rising in choosing their logo, but it seems to me they could have done better.

Rosie the Riveter is iconic in our culture. But that doesn't mean everyone likes her. It was conceived at a time when World War II broke out, when the men weren't at home to fill the factories among other jobs and when being patriotic actually meant something. It may have increased the number of women in the work force, but what happened when the men came home from the war? Most went back home and kept house. They were expected to. Some did stay in the workforce, but they certainly didn't get paid much and conditions usually weren't very accommodating. And, as Jennifer James so aptly points out:

When Rosie the Riveter became a powerful icon for women, black people still had to drink water from separate water fountains.
When Rosie the Riveter became a powerful icon for women, black women war workers had to live in separate dormitories.

Personally, I don't find Rosie the Riveter empowering, or even positive these days. I find it archaic. It screams to me that WOMEN CAN BE JUST LIKE MEN TOO!!!!! (among other things) And while that may appeal to some women, it does not appeal to me. Why would you want to be just like the men? The kicker is, to get ahead in the world of work, to get to those high-end jobs and fields dominated by men, women most often have to act like the men. Does this make sense?

Such organizations like Le Leche League and the International Breastfeeding Symbol managed to come up with a logo that wasn't offensive, racist or archaic.

The International Breastfeeding Symbol

So, what's going on at Moms Rising?

Even Code Pink came up with some decent buttons:

And BlogHer: (For all my issues with them, at least they had the sense to come up with a decent logo)

Thank you, Jennifer James, for making me see another side of the coin.

Mama Noire post on Mom's Rising Logo

Post from Black Breastfeeding Blog with lots of -lively-comments

By the way, Jennifer James was recently Guest Blogger on MotherVerse Blog.

Mom's Rising site

Edited to add: the breastfeeding icon and blogHer icon

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  1. Hi Kris, Thanks for posting about my rant ;) By the way, those are perfect examples that you posted.

  2. Hi Kris, discovered your blog. I love how you showed examples of great, inclusive logos.