Saturday, February 9, 2013

Seven ABC's of Propaganda: An Rosie example

Lee and Lee's "The Fine Art of Propaganda" outlines seven ABC's (steps) for analyzing propaganda. I would argue these seven steps should be the mental process a media consumer goes through to determine what is being put in front of their eyes and ears. As a very quick example, take the classic "Rosie the Riveter" case.

This idea of a tough and hardworking woman was used as propaganda by feminists and the U.S. government to try to get more women into the workforce, especially in the munitions department, during WWII.

1. Ascertain. What is the conflict element? Here it would be the fact that women represented only 27 percent of the total workforce. However, men were going away to war so women were needed outside of the home.

2. Behold. What is the your (my) reaction? Speaking personally, this is an image and a campaign that seemingly portrays powerful women. Though back in the 1940's, this would be a revolutionary thought that women could be portrayed this way.

3. Concern. What are today's propaganda? Today (2013) you could argue it would include how we are the greatest country in the world, how the war effort is going overseas and how congress is working (or not working) together. Each of these aspects are presented through various lenses to us. Back in the 1940's, propaganda would include men joining the war effort, posters and ads portraying Japan, Germany and the Axis powers as evil, etc.

4. Doubt. Has our environment effected our opinions about things? This one is easy. Consider how my great-grandfather, Wade L. Hilligoss, would have viewed this idea and poster. Then think about how Wade B. Hilligoss of the present day would. The difference between the two can be explained by the environment and the societal beliefs our the separate times in history.

5. Evaluate. What are our own propagandas? Or more individually, why do we believe what we believe? In my case, I can identify that my mother was a businesswomen as long as I can remember while my dad stayed home and worked part-time until my brother and I were old enough to take care of ourselves.

6. Find the facts. 
Who: The U.S. Government and Women of the U.S.
What: They want them in the workforce.
Where: The United States.
Why: With men entering the war, women were needed to make munition and to take hold of other jobs too.
When: The time around WWII.
How: Trying to portray women as something more than housewives. They can and should work in the field.

7. Guard. Are there any omnibus words? There don't seem to be any in this case as the effort was largely without copy except for the song which is full of them.

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