Rosie & The Riveters Combine The Fashion Of 1945 And The Feminism Of 2016

by Meg Crane

Feminist band Rosie & the Riveters are about so much more than flawless, wispy hair rolls, bright red lipstick and vintage 1940s dresses. “It’s also about the music and the humor and positivity and connecting with people. For us, that’s a really big thing. Connecting with the audience,” says Allyson Reigh, the last member to join the uplifting folk band in 2011.

Reigh and bandmates Alexis Normand, Melissa Nygren and Farideh Olsen strive to be an example for women. Olsen thinks women who truly love and have fun with one another are missing from pop culture, but that’s exactly what Rosie & the Riveters give their audience. To Reigh, they are all friends first, then musical and business partners. And they make sure that shines through in their music.

“We try not to sing songs about heartbreak and boyfriends,” Riegh says. Rather, they sing about things they love and that make them happy, like fashion and dancing.

Though Reigh says the arts community is pretty open-minded, they still face challenges in the male-dominated music industry. Few people would hesitate to book two male groups in one night, but it’d be unlikely they’d book two women bands without making it specifically a show for women.

Olsen agrees, saying they’re not always taken seriously and some people are patronizing towards them. This doesn’t discourage the openly feminist band. Once people see them play, they often change their minds about Rosie & the Riveters. Even the men who’d initially brushed them off as “some stupid girl thing.”

The Riveter’s support for women goes beyond their immediate audience. “Part of our goal is to bring women together in support of their own communities and help to foster change in their own communities,” Reigh says. Through Kiva, the Riveters donate 20 percent of their merchandise sales to women around the globe who are using arts-based and handmade projects to achieve this goal. 

Rosie & The Riveters’ album Good Clean Fun can be purchased here.

Photo credit Lisa Landrie

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