Monday, March 31, 2008

Tipper Gore -- Where Are You?!

Last July I attended my 40th high school reunion. Funny -- I don't feel that old, but yeah, it's been that many years. Anyway, a classmate recorded hours-worth of songs from our era and I've been listening to them ever since. Many bring back lovely memories of necking [that's what we called sucking-face back then] on the four hour train ride between home and my college. Others, however reveal messages I never noticed while dancing to them. I think most of us focused more on the rhythm and tune rather than the lyrics. Let's face it, we couldn't often understand them on tinny transistor radios and scratchy vinyl records. Maybe that was a good thing. . ..?! Songs that seemed to be about innocent crushes and puppy love actually contain lyrics about controlling girls and of course getting girls to give. "Go out and get her" and "marry her so she won't roam." The guys probably caught the drift of these songs, but I wonder how many of us girls did. Yeah, right, like the Beatles actually wanted to hold your hand when they screamed those words to frenzied teen audiences.
What would now be categorized as the crime was encouraged as a way for a boy to get a girlfriend.
There is someone walking behind you.
Turn around and look at me.
There is someone watching your footsteps; turn around and look at me.
There is someone who really needs you; here's my heart; here's my hand. . . .
Seemed so innocent to our teen minds, but when it actually happened to me in my late 20s, fear struck. Thankfully the man who followed me for months turned out to be harmless. On the other hand, another who never revealed himself other than through phonecalls to my office and a rambling, twisted letter scared me enough that I avoided being alone in public for a very long time.
Free Love didn't become a catch-phrase until later in the 60s and early 70s. Then the women's movement turned everything upside down for both men and women. It may have also discouraged more songs about getting and controlling females. We were no longer girls, but Women with a capital W. We became militant in expressing our outrage at the way men had been exerting control and taking unfair advantage of us.
Suggestive lyrics have become truly ugly; denigrating and subjugating women. And music videos. . .!!! Why can't we move beyond that? Must we start a new movement to regain respect for human dignity?

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