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Within a ritual ceremony, individuals may represent a group as a whole rather than their personal identity. For example, one worker may stand in for an entire class of workers when an honor is presented. This may be communicated visually with the choice to have the recipient of an honor wear a uniform that represents their membership within a larger group. The intended effect is to build solidarity among the honored group. When we think of awards such as the Oscars or Grammy's, in contrast, we usually associate them with recipients whose outfits are chosen to communicate their individuality.
Dressing the Part
This photograph captures a moment in one of the ship launching ceremonies held at the shipyard. Mrs. Edwin L. Jones is presenting welder Lilliam Oliver with flowers. The two women pictured here represent two versions of femininity linked in the exchange of a bouquet. Lilliam Oliver is wearing her work clothes and welder's helmet in contrast to the more traditional formalwear of Mrs. Jones. In this photograph, as well as others in the collection, the welder's helmet holds special significance for those women whose traditional social roles were transformed by working in the shipyard. The ship launching ceremonies made up just one part of the ritualization that supported the tremendous coordination of human labor to achieve record-breaking production of ships in support of the war effort.
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