Great Songs Any Self-Respecting Feminist Should, But Can't, Hate
I was singing along to a great song in the car the other day when I suddenly thought: "Hey, wait a minute! Did they just say what I thought they just said?." It wasn't anything overtly offensive, no nasty words were used, but it got me to thinking about other songs I enjoy and I realized how many songs have lyrics that aren't very respectful to women. Then, with a guilty smirk, I admitted I didn't really care what the song said, I still liked it, and I kept right on singing.
Now before you come to any conclusions about me by the article title and the songs I chose, I want to give you a little of my background. I have never considered myself a true "feminist". Thanks to awesome parents, I was raised to be a confident self-sufficient woman and I was taught that women could do whatever they wanted to do. At this point in my life I'm a stay at home mom, but before I got married I was a single woman with a successful career. I believe in equal rights and equal pay and, while I believe in treating everyone with respect, I am not a political correctness junkie. In fact, at the appropriate times, I can be incredibly politically incorrect. I also appreciate good sarcasm.
I love music, new and old, all genres, but I really love music from the sixties and with the exception of two from the 70s, all of these songs are from that era. There is music out there now that degrades women and men but I can't, and won't, listen to that. The songs on this list are on the "softer" side of being disrectful, if you can say such a thing, and some are almost funny to hear today. They are also great songs to listen to. They get your toes tapping and your hips shaking.
I'm sure there are many songs that I have missed, so if you have any great songs that any self-respecting feminist should, but can't, hate, I'd love it if you let me know.
That's The Way That Boys Are - Lesley Gore - 1964
Lesley Gore has one of those voices that I just love. Her songs are corny but catchy. This song, written by Mark Barkan and Ben Raleigh, is my number one pick for this list and the opening lines tell you why:
"When I'm with a guy and he watches all the pretty girls go by, Well I feel so hurt deep inside, I wish that I could die, Not a word do I say, I just look the other way, 'Cause that's the way that boys are..."
Come on Lesley! Do what I do and give your boy a sharp elbow in the ribs or better yet, look at all the handsome boys walking by. It may be a politically incorrect song, but it's a catchy tune that I'll sing along to any day.
Stay With Me - The Faces - 1971
Written by Rod Stewart and Ron Wood, "Stay With Me" rocks, but it's never going to make the cut for the theme song for the National Organization for Women (NOW). How can it with lyrics like:
"Won't need too much persuading, I don't mean to sound degrading, but with a face like that , you got nothing to laugh about" or "Yeah I'll pay your cab fare home, You can even use my best cologne, Just don't be here in the morning when I wake up."
This awesome song is about a rock singer inviting a woman up to his room and you can guess the rest.
And come on people, admit it, at one point in your life there has been a rock star that you wouldn't have minded staying with for one night, even if he couldn't remember your name the next morning.
Under My Thumb - The Rolling Stones - 1966
The Rolling Stones are my all time favorite rock band, but I'll be the first to admit that some their songs aren't exactly kind to the female persuasion. This song, written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, ranks at the top with lyrics like:
"Under my thumb, the squirming dog who's just had her day" or "It's down to me, the difference in the clothes she wears"
It's about a man who finally takes control of a domineering woman and it's a great song even if they compare a woman to a dog.
Wives and Lovers - Julie London - 1964
Written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David, this song is funny to listen to today. How can't it be with lyrics like:
"Don't send him off with curlers in your hair, You may not see him again".
About wives not taking care of themselves and ending up losing their husbands, this song brings back memories of Doris Day movies. I've been happily married for almost 12 years and don't even own curlers. So much for this song's reasoning.
Which song is your pick as a great song any self-respecting feminist should, but can't, hate?
Stand By Your Man - Tammy Wynette - 1968
Written by Tammy Wynette and Bill Sherrill, this is a classic. It has a catchy tune that almost anyone has heard at one time. You can't help but roll your eyes and chuckle when you hear lyrics like:
"You'll have bad times, He'll have good times, Doing things that you don't understand, And if you love him, be proud of him, 'Cause after all he's just a man"
Who can forget the famous interview that Bill and Hilary Clinton gave when he was running for president many years ago. When defending her husband's infidelities Mrs. Clinton said, "I'm not sitting here, some little woman, standing by her man, I'm here because I love him and I respect him". Well, she's still by his side to this day, even after additional indiscretions and public humiliation so I guess she took Tammy's words to heart after all.
Woman to Woman - Tammy Wynette - 1974
Tammy Wynette makes the list two times with Woman to Woman which was released in 1974. Tammy just has a way with words when it comes to giving out advice to women for keeping our men happy, especially in this song warning wives about other women out there.
"She's out there too, And she's a whole lot better looking than me or you, But she can do things to a man, You never dreamed a woman can do."
It makes the list because it's one of those seventies country songs that makes you laugh when you hear it.
California Girls - The Beach Boys - 1965
This is an American classic by Brian Wilson and Mike Love. Listen to this and you think of summer fun, the beach and girls in bikinis. Hey guys don't forget to think about us girls in one pieces too!
"I dig a french bikini on hawaii island, doll by a palm tree in the sand"
This is definitely not the most over the top song is this bunch, but take a look at the video and you'll understand why it made the cut.
Lightnin' Strikes - Lou Christie - 1965
I think I love this song so much because of Lou Christie's great falsetto voice and because my dad always belts it out when it comes on the radio. Listen closely to the lyrics and you'll realize that this hit, written by Lou Christie and Twyla Herbert, is all about a man not being able to be faithful to his significant other.
"Nature's takin' over my one-track mind, Believe it or not you're in my heart all the time, All the girls are sayin' that you'll end up a fool, For the time being, baby, live by my rules..."
Yeah, sure "baby", I'll live by your rules as you step out on me. It can't get much cornier than that, but it's still a fun song to listen to and people must like it because it's on the radio more than you might think.
If You Wanna Be Happy - Jimmy Soul - 1963
The writers of this song, Joseph Royster, Carmella Guida, and Frank Guida gave men some wise advice when they wrote this hit. Basically...guys, you better get an ugly woman to marry you, not a pretty one or you are in big trouble.
"A pretty woman makes her husband looks small, And very often causes his downfall"...."An ugly woman cooks meals on time, And she'll always give you peace of mind."
If I follow this logic on cooking then I must gorgeous! Hmmm...maybe I should play this song for my husband. The song has such a boppy beat and the lyrics are so absurd that you can't help but like it.
© 2012 Claudia Mitchell