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This Artist’s Modern Take on ‘Rosie the Riveter’ Made the New Yorker’s Cover

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Sometimes dreams really do come true. For one mom and artist, her dream came true on the cover of the latest issue of The New Yorker. The magazine cover is a much-needed tribute to the Women’s Marches that took place on January 21 and included over 3 million protestors around the world.

Abigail Gray Swartz‘s painting is a modernization of the WWII-era feminist icon, Rosie the Riveter. Now, she’s featured as a woman of color, and instead of a bandanna, she is wearing a pink pussy hat, the Women’s March symbol. The Maine-based artist decided to send her painting to The New Yorker unsolicited, which typically means it won’t get a response. However, since it’s been her dream to be published by the iconic magazine, she tried anyway.

Barbie came in one shade when I was growing up and #RosieTheRiveter didn’t look like me. I still knew in my heart that being a #WomanOfColor was beautiful and that “We Can Do It!” applied to me too. 💎 This week, 75 years after she made her debut, #Rosie gets a pigmented pick-me-up on the cover of @newyorkermag!! Thank you, @graydaystudio, for capturing the often forgotten face of today’s strong woman as we continue the fight for equality alongside women of all colors. We will be #hiddenfigures no more!!! 🔥👠#NewEvolution . . . . . . . . #womensmarch #womenofcolor #bgm #blackgirlmagic #newfeminism #feminism #fight #womensrights #push #equality #sexism #sex #sexualassault #sexualharassment #woke #pushme #newwave #women #bgm #woc #woman #female #gender #preserve #strong #battle

A photo posted by Adrienne Lawrence (@adrienneespn) on

And she succeeded. Swartz apparently “ugly cried” when she got a response from the magazine’s art editor, Françoise Mouly, asking her to send a few more variations of Rosie–and 72 hours later, one of Swartz’s paintings made the cover. Swartz recently spoke to The Huffington Post about what inspired her to make this piece–and why inclusive feminism is important. When it comes to modernizing Rosie, she said it was about time, stating:

“I turned to Rosie as a symbol to convey the transformation we have taken from the times of WWII. I made Rosie a woman of color, because as an artist I feel it’s my job to paint diversity. I recently read how important it is for children, especially for children of color, to see images of Barack Obama in their schools. So I concluded, why not give girls of color, and everyone for that matter, an image of a Rosie with brown skin. It was just a no brainer ― I want to paint Rosie as a symbol of the Women’s March and she should look like this.”

She also believes inclusion needs to happen, or nothing else will change–and it’s the job of white women to acknowledge their privilege:

“I was well aware of the need for inclusion. I agree that white women need to show up to the Black Lives Matter rallies. If one hurts, we all hurt. Plus it’s simply your moral obligation as a white woman to acknowledge your privilege and to use it to help others. It’s the rent you must pay. And, if we are going to get anywhere as a movement we must be united and that also means accepting all forms of feminism. It’s like what Maya Angelou said about the women’s movement, “The sadness of the women’s movement is that they don’t allow the necessity of love. See, I don’t personally trust any revolution where love is not allowed.” That, to me, means inclusion and allowing for a variety of definitions of feminism.”

She’s so right–I’m glad there are artists out there like her trying to make a difference in the lives of women.


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