Eva's Retro 60s Flashbacks
You Don't Own Me
And don’t tell me what to do, and don’t tell me what to say! Even though Lesley Gore put her foot down at the young age of
seventeen, this 45 rpm, nouveau, defiance-in-vinyl was a radical departure from her attitude the previous year
when boyfriend Johnny disappeared from her birthday party, only to show up with Judy, wearing his ring.
It's my party, and I'll cry if I want to.
Could be Betty Friedan jumpstarted what is referred to as
“Second Wave Feminism” in 1963 with the publication of her book, The
While the first wave of feminism focused on women’s suffrage,
Ms. Friedan created the perfect storm which would rage from the early 1960s through the late 1980s. Her book
addressed the widespread unhappiness of women in the 1950s and early 1960s, centered on the mystique they
derived fulfillment by devoting their lives to being housewives and mothers. Let’s face it-- wearing an
apron, waltzing a Hoover, and roasting a chicken do not challenge
the average female’s mental capacity. Ms. Friedan called for a drastic rethinking of what it meant to be
feminine, and many heeded the call to promote the feminist rights of integrity and autonomy.
Let’s hear it for the emergence of girl groups and solo female
artists who vocalized Sixties ideology, da doo ron ron runaway
from boo hooing, instead toodle-looing. So, when “You Don’t Own
Me” made its debut in 1964, it pioneered defiance against being objectified. And please, when I go out with you, don’t
put me on display.
Bootie call! "These Boots Are Made For Walkin'" (1966):
Nancy Sinatra voices intolerance and threatens payback for her heel of a man's infidelity: You've been a messin' where you shouldn't have been a messin' and now someone else is
gettin' all your best. These boots are made for walkin', and that's just what they'll do. One of
these days these boots are gonna walk all over you.
"R-E-S-P-E-C-T" (1967): Sock it to me! A song
exemplifying the feminist movement, Lady of Soul, Aretha Franklin, tells it like it is by articulating her
primordial needs. What you want? Baby, I got it.
What you need, do you know I got it? All I'm askin' is for a little respect when you come home (just a little
Dionne Warwick through her sophisticated delivery, told her man
in no uncertain terms he'd better readjust his attitude because a relationship isn't one-sided.
Don't pick on the things I say, the things I do. Just love me
with all my faults the way that I love you ("Don't Make Me Over," 1967).
Dusty Springfield, the White Queen of Soul, helped create
a classic look for women during the early Sixties with her peroxide blonde, beehive hairdo and
heavy eyeliner. However, the progressive music revolution of the British Invasion, along with cultural
and fashion extremes toward the latter part of the Sixties, rendered the pop diva a little dusty.
Nevertheless, Ms. Springfield proved herself so much more than an outdated, camp icon. Her sultry
and sensual voice, rich in emotion, had a timeless quality which appealed to future generations. Before
it was considered fashionable, she spoke openly about her bisexuality.
Janis Joplin, the Queen of
Rock and Roll, epitomized the rebelliousness of the Sixties and its counterculture. Her distinctive, raspy voice screamed her pain parallel to living hard, taking
drugs, and seeking solace in Southern Comfort. No one told
Joplin what to say or what to do. Long before her music career, she never conformed to society’s expectations of
how a woman should look or act. In response to ostracization in high
school for having acne and a weight problem, she cultivated the persona of a rebel by wearing wild clothes and
affecting vulgarity. Nevertheless, Ms. Joplin’s lyrical toughness is tempered with vulnerability. Her songs
portray women as being misused by their man, while urging them to get tough. Didn't I make you feel like you were the only man-yeah!
Didn't I give you nearly everything that a woman possibly can? Honey, you know I did! And each time I tell myself that I, well I think I've had enough, but I'm gonna
show you, baby, that a woman can be tough. (“Piece of My Heart,”1968).
Betty Friedan concluded in The Feminine Mystique, “The real enemy is women's denigration of
themselves." Therefore, let it be written and let it be sung,
The Ten Commandments of Feminist Autonomy:
1. Don’t make me one of your
2. Don’t tell me what to
3. Don’t tell me what to say.
4. Don’t say I can’t go out
with other boys.
5. Don’t put me on
6. Don’t tie me
7. Let me be
8. Let me be
9. Let me live life the way I
10. Let me be
You don’t own
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