Four Years in the Fight

Title Four Years in the Fight
Creator Lucien Jonas
Date 1918
Format 42 x 28 in
Description Lucien Jonas’s propaganda poster “Fours Years in the Fight” represents the hardships experienced by French women in factories to encourage American audiences to contribute to the United War Work Campaign, a joint effort of seven non-profit organizations to provide entertainment and comfort overseas. Of the seven organizations, the Young Women’s Christian Association (Y.W.C.A.) was dedicated to servicing women workers, including the French, through the establishment of Hostess Houses. This image portrays four French women, drably clothed, working in an industrial plant, presumably creating supplies for the war. Women are often depicted in propaganda posters as sexual beings designed to draw the attention of heterosexual men, but this image differs by presenting women in a more active, gritty, and asexual manner. In the background, two men supervise the laborers, a choice that acts to reinforce a traditional gender hierarchy challenged by women adopting jobs usually reserved for men. Through the window is a bright but faded scene of a group of well-dressed women gathering and listening to a female speaker at the steps of a Y.W.C.A. building. The poster establishes a sense of indebtedness in the minds of the American viewer, arguing that the hardworking French women are owed “Houses of Cheer.”
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