Kathy Aoki Archive

Beauty Is Your Duty: Monotypes

Many American women who entered the workforce to replace men at war (aka “Rosie the Riveters”) were discharged at the end of World War II and forced to return to domestic life. In Aoki’s monotype of a bald eagle clutching a lipstick, Aoki imagines a 1946 government propaganda campaign designed to encourage women to stay at home and “look good” instead of working. The new patriotic “duties” would include primping, making dinner, and keeping house. The Barbie-style posters take on a similar call to duty, conflating patriotism with unrealistic body goals for women.