Earlier this week, pop superstar, girl power icon and all round super-woman Beyoncé Knowles posted a picture on her Instagram of her dressed up as Rosie the Riveter, beneath the well known phrase 'We Can Do It'.
With hair flowing beneath the signature red and white polka dot headscarf, chin raised and facial expression confident; she lifts her rolled up denim jumpsuit to reveal one very nicely toned and bulging bicep. On her left hand, her golden wedding ring shines.
Almost instantly, it became the most popular post on her Instagram account, with over 1.19 million 'likes' within 3 days. It went viral, with E! Entertainment branding it 'the ultimate feminist photo', and thousands of ardent fans leaving comments like "So Amazing! You're Perfect!", "Yes We Can", and "Yes We Got Girl Power."
Beyoncé's Instagram picture, taken at America's National World War II Museum, is a copy of the famous poster of Rosie the Riveter, first created in 1942 by artist J Howard Miller as an inspirational image for women working at the Westinghouse Electric Company, Pennsylvania.
The term 'Rosie the Riveter' was first coined in a 1942 song, made to inspire female workers who had taken over from their male counterparts fighting in the war. Contrary to popular belief, the woman in the picture originally had nothing to do with the song, and is based on a photograph of a working class woman Geraldine Doyle, who worked as a metal presser in Ann Arbor.
With her brown curl, determined expression and muscular bicep, the image has, since the Eighties, been adopted as the ultimate American feminist image of equality in the workplace.
Seen as an image of a strong, independent woman, it is unsurprising that 'All The Single Ladies', 'Run The World (Girls)', 'Independent Women' singer Beyoncé decided to adopt it in a girl power stance. It seems to suggest equality, authority and control.
However, the picture's true feminist credibility has been questioned. Writing in the Guardian, Rebecca Winson ripped the image apart as a feminist symbol, labelling it 'working-class drag', and the male creator's 'wet dream'.
She argues that the image is an unrealistic picture of the reality that working women faced in World War II. Rosie has been scrubbed up, airbrushed and dolled up, when she would have been covered in oil and grease from head to foot. She also would be earning 50 per cent less than her male counterparts would in the same job, doing all the housework, and facing the sack as soon as the war ended.
Far from a feminist icon, for Winston, the picture is an 'airbrushed fib'. Personally though, I love the Rosie the Riveter picture, and Beyoncé's recreation to boot. As a schoolgirl, I remember buying the post card, and sticking it in my bedroom for years. I loved the image; I thought it was cool, sexy and inspiring. For me, it captures my interpretation of feminism, which is not about superiority, but equality. Through recreating the image, Beyoncé is spreading a positive message to women everywhere. I agree; we can do it.