Ask any woman who she admires or looks up to, who she feels is a good role model, and you may discover that the woman she names as an inspiration isn’t even real. Many women who have inspired entire generations of women were fictional, but still very, very influential. If you’re not sure who I mean, or how they influenced attitudes and perceptions and even pop culture, keep reading! Here’s my list of 7 influential women who never actually lived.
1. Rosie the Riveter
During World War II, women across the country were encouraged to leave their homes and join a workforce that, depleted of young men to work in munitions factories and ship-yards and tank plants, was desperate for people. But women hadn’t really worked outside the home in large numbers before, and it took a little coaxing in the form of propaganda, like the famous Rosie the Riveter, who was very loosely based on a real woman, Rose Will Monroe, who worked in the Willow Run Aircraft Factory in Michigan. Rosie was tough but still glamorous, and while many of the women she inspired left their factory jobs when the war was over, some decided to stay, and Rosie has since become an icon of the early feminist movement.