From Litho Stone to Pentium Chip: Interpreting Gender in U.S. World War I Posters
|Stand Behind the Effort to Keep Our Men Happy by Melissa Traylor '00|
|The main theme in this poster is the United War Work campaign, which asked Americans to contribute money to a huge voluntary effort toward aiding soldiers and sailors in World War I. The YMCA and YWCA were two of seven organizations involved in the campaign. The Young Men's and Women's Christian Associations provide recreational activities, shelter, transport, group activities, sports, and fellowship to the men fighting for the country. (1)
This poster depicts a YMCA shelter, which resembles a quaint home in the woods, as being His Home Over There. The ideology of separate spheres is clearly portrayed by the men walking towards the lit-up shelter. Separate spheres is the notion that men are expected to work outside of the home in the public sphere, while women stay at home in the private sphere. The poster implies that by contributing money toward the United War Work campaign, donors are giving the men the opportunity to walk into the comfort of the private sphere. (2)
J.D. Rockefeller, Jr. was an advocate for this campaign and when addressing the public he explained, "...[the soldiers and sailors] will need as never since the day they entered the service the friendship, inspiration, occupation, amusement, and strength which these organizations alone can provide." (3) The poster plays on American loyalties to the men fighting for their country. It not only addresses individuals who have relatives fighting in the war, but all Americans are targeted through the use of the words Our Boys to foster a sense of unity for the men overseas.
1. "YMCA WAR WORK, 1914-1918," [http://www.ymca.int/warworki.htm], March 2, 1998.