Echoic Representations of Two Feminist Models of Women: The Industrious Rosie ‘the Riveter’ and the Eccentric Frida Kahlo

María del Mar Rivas Carmona, Manuel Balsera Fernández


This paper focuses on iconic language as an intense, multimodal way of communication, and, more concretely, on representations endowed with an ‘echoic nature’ that have had the power to convey deeply emotional and persuasive messages in different contexts. After briefly reviewing the various epistemological approaches that have dealt with symbolism in art, two images of archetypal women, repeatedly recreated in various sorts of locative and temporal spaces, will be analysed from the pragmatic-cognitive perspective of Sperber & Wilson’s Relevance Theory (1986, 1995). The first echoic representation has its source in a poster with one of the most well-known faces of US propaganda, Rosie Will Monroe’s, calling for women’s work effort in order to help their country win the war, with the moving advertising slogan “We can do it”. The other model is based on the image of Frida Kahlo who won fame with her pictorial work, in spite of being partially eclipsed by her famous husband, the Mexican muralist Diego Rivera; the portrayal of her “long-suffering self” (egotistical echoicity) and her polemic and eccentric biography turned her into an icon of art, revolution and feminism.

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International Journal of Social Science Studies   ISSN 2324-8033 (Print)   ISSN 2324-8041 (Online)

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