Recently, I saw Respect: A Musical Journey of Women where excerpts of 60 songs, from “I Will Follow Him” to “These Boots are Made for Walking” were sung by a cast of four women accompanied by a live band. The show chronicles the progress of women through the 20th century, against the backdrop of songs of each era.
While it is easy to celebrate women’s milestones– “We’ve come a long way baby”, we cannot ignore that in many ways progress has been stymied. Promoting women as sex objects continues today — witness Britney Spears, the modern day Betty Boop / Marilyn Monroe. Today’s laws are a rollback on women’s protection — from the numerous anti-choice regulations designed to prevent women from getting birth control pills or abortions to budget cuts for programs assisting domestic violence / rape survivors.