The “Gee!! I wish I were a man – I’d join the navy” propaganda poster was used during World War 1 to recruit men to join the Navy. The poster was published in 1917 by the U.S. Navy recruitment office.
The poster depicts a woman standing with her fists clinched and wearing a sailor suit. He cleavage is almost exposed through the sailor suit. The poster is designed to excite those young males in the U.S., the women looks down from the poster with an almost mocking look. The poster uses sexuality to encourage men to enlist and be part of the U.S. war effort.
The poster was designed by Howard Chandler Christy who is well known for designing war recruitment and propaganda posters during this period. He is known for creating the “Christy Girl” who features in this poster and numerous other of his recruitment poster as well. An exploration of Chandlers work and feminism can be found here.
Some of his other well known works include the “If you want to fight! Join the marines” poster and the “Spirit of America! Join the Red Cross” poster. There are a number of different theories regarding how this poster was conceptualised, including an interesting story of how Chandler Christry and the “Christry girl” first met in a Navy recruitment station.