Rosie the Riveter Inspiration Naomi Parker Fraley Dies at 96

J. Howard Miller, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain
J. Howard Miller, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

The real-life inspiration behind a timeless World War II image has died at age 96, CNN reports. Naomi Parker Fraley was a California native and a wartime factory worker, but most people knew her as the real Rosie the Riveter.

Her rise to icon status began in the months following the attack on Pearl Harbor in late 1941. Like thousands of women across the country, she took a job in a factory to aid the war effort. She was 20 years old when she was working in the Naval Air Station in Alameda, California, patching airplane wings and operating rivet machines. It was there that a photographer touring the station snapped the photograph that would launch countless imitations.

In the picture, Fraley is shown leaning over a machine in a jumpsuit with her hair pulled back by a red-and-white polka dot bandana. The photograph was shared in numerous newspapers and magazines and eventually adapted by artist J. Howard Miller in the famous 1943 Rosie the Riveter poster.

The image was originally used as a tool to boost wartime morale, but has since grown into a universal symbol for women’s empowerment. Rosie’s unmistakable look is still a popular source of inspiration for artists and celebrities, but until recently, no one knew the real woman behind the character.

For years, a woman named Geraldine Hoff Doyle was mistakenly identified as the woman in the Naval Air Station photograph. Only when a Seton Hall University professor named James J. Kimble unearthed the original photo with Fraley’s name in the caption was the true subject confirmed. When he reached out to Fraley with the news in 2016, it didn’t come as a total surprise to her. She had recognized herself in the photo when she saw it at a former wartime workers convention a few years earlier, even though the caption named a different woman.

According to her family, Fraley died in hospice care in Longview, Washington on January 20, the same day that hundred of thousands of protesters came out for the second annual Women’s March.

[h/t CNN]

America's Divorce Rate is Declining—and We Have Millennials to Thank for It

iStock/Jason_Lee_Hughes
iStock/Jason_Lee_Hughes

Millennials are reportedly killing off yet another cultural mainstay, but this time, it may be a good thing. According to Bloomberg, divorce rates are going down, thanks to the commitment powers of younger generations.

Between 2008 and 2016, the divorce rate in the U.S. dropped by 18 percent, according to a new analysis of data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. Controlling for related factors like age (older people are less likely to get divorced than younger couples), the rate still dropped by 8 percent. By contrast, Baby Boomers have consistently divorced at higher rates than previous generations.

Many declines that Millennials are blamed for—like rates of homeownership or having kids—can actually be attributed to the dismal finances of a generation that came of age in a recession, is saddled with crushing student debt, and faces high costs of living and low wage growth. Divorces can be expensive, too. Yet several trends point to a higher likelihood of marriage stability for the Millennial generation that has nothing to do with finances. On average, Millennials are marrying later in life, and spending more time dating partners prior to marriage than earlier generations, both of which correlate with a lower chance of divorce, according to social scientists.

“The U.S. is progressing toward a system in which marriage is rarer, and more stable, than it was in the past,” author Philip Cohen writes in the paper.

Sorry, law school students, but it looks like being a divorce lawyer is going to get a little less lucrative in the future.

[h/t Bloomberg]

Tune in Tonight: Mental Floss on Jeopardy!

All that time you've spent on here is about to pay off.

Tune in tonight for Jeopardy! and you'll catch the debut of the "I Learned It From Mental Floss" category. Big bucket list moment for us.

We've been working closely with the Jeopardy! team over on Instagram, sharing amazing facts on both @jeopardy and @mental_floss. Study up!

Check your local listings for stations and show times.

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