brothers, democracy, feminism, flash, flash fiction, husbands, Rosie the Riveter, Shannon Frost Greenstein, short stories, short story, war
by Shannon Frost Greenstein
Listen up, ladies.
I actually don’t think we CAN do it.
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve got my bandana; I’ve got my game face; I’ve got the sleeve of my denim shirt rolled up to my bicep and just begging to be coated with the sweat of American freedom.
But I’ve got some serious doubts about the purpose of it all.
I mean, SHOULD we do it? At the end of the day, is it really worth it?
Let’s look at this objectively.
We’re the clothes hangers. We’re the wet nurses. We exist as pin-ups, as Madonnas and Whores, as the sexual symbols for generation upon generation of males to idolize, to worship, to use. If you want respect, however, or an opinion, or a public voice … sorry, sister, you’re out of luck.
Really, we need men. We need them. We need them to father our children; we need them to make the money; we need them to fight the Germans and protect the Homefront and make the world Safe for Democracy. Sure, we’re lending a hand. We’re doing our best in their absence to Save the Day and End the War, but it’s more like when we let our little ones “help” in the kitchen.
So, actually, it really doesn’t matter if we do it. What will we get out of it? A small sliver of American history to call our own, overshadowed by carnage on the beaches of Normandy?
Let them handle this one themselves, that’s my opinion. Let our husbands and brothers and sons make the munitions and the engines and the rivets. Let them be responsible for providing the guns and the butter and give us a much-deserved breather. Let THEM take care of US for a change.
It’s not like we’re getting paid equally. It’s not like any of our husbands and brothers and sons are around to appreciate what we’re doing. And it’s not like we’ll get to stay in the workforce when they’re back. Ten minutes after the Fuhrer is captured, we’ll be back to arguing over who has the cutest hat or window dressing or spawn, and it’ll be like nothing ever happened.
We’ll sit in the linoleum-coated kitchens of our Levittowns, staring wistfully out the window and remembering when we actually mattered for ten minutes in the greater scheme of things. We’ll be members of the Greatest Country in the World, but our celebration will be Tupperware parties and children’s birthday gatherings and the blissful relief of the occasional tranquilizer. Our husbands and brothers and sons will drink scotch and reminisce about the good ol’ days with their rifles and their nationalism, and our efforts … so monumental at the time, so important to the war effort … will be wholly insignificant.
So, then, it’s up to you. If you want to do “it,” more power to you. But if you’d rather take that symbol of feminine progress out of your hair and have a nice drink, I’d understand.
Shannon Frost Greenstein resides in Philadelphia with her soulmate and impossibly beautiful son. She harbors an unhealthy interest in Game of Thrones, Friedrich Nietzsche, and the Hill Cumorah Pageant. Her work can be found on McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Scary Mommy, WHYY’s Speakeasy, The Corvus Review, and a range of other publications. Just Google her.