Political Animal


November 03, 2012 3:26 PM The women of America have a message for Mitt Romney and the G.O.P.

By Kathleen Geier

More after the jump.

FYI, some of the women in video above include Carrie Brownstein, Lena Dunham, Natasha Lyonne, and Miranda July. I think it’s a terrific use of a brilliant and powerful recording/song. I’m a huge fan of girl pop and this is definitely one of the classics. I first came to know this song through a Joan Jett cover, and I assumed it was a B side, one of Lesley Gore’s more obscure recordings. I couldn’t imagine that a song that was that shockingly pro-feminist could have enjoyed any mainstream popularity in pre-feminist America. But amazingly, “You Don’t Own Me,” which was released the year after The Feminine Mystique was published, was a giant hit. It was one of Gore’s most popular songs, second only to “It’s My Party” in sales. It climbed to number two on the charts, right behind the Beatles’ “I Want to Hold Your Hand.”

It doesn’t always seem that way, but there were strong feminist stirrings in the pop culture of the pre-feminist era. You can see it, too, in classic Hollywood movies, especially in the women’s pictures and the 30s and 40s comedies featuring independent-minded fast-talking dames.

And btw, another reason Lesley Gore is awesome, in addition to her music, is her activism. She’s an out lesbian and does done manifold good works for the LGBTQ community. Love her!

Kathleen Geier is a writer and public policy researcher who lives in Chicago. She blogs at Inequality Matters. Find her on Twitter: @Kathy_Gee


  • Rose on November 03, 2012 4:47 PM:

    Love the video! Voting Obama on Tuesday!

  • sue on November 03, 2012 4:51 PM:

    love it, too!

    this grey haired woman remembers the BAD old days all too well.

    doing GOTV and working the polls on Tuesday in Pa.

  • martin on November 03, 2012 4:51 PM:

    Well, she had to make up for That's The Way Boys Are;>

    Nice video, let's hope for Sunshine and Lollipops come Tuesday.

    And go Lesley.

  • Mimi on November 03, 2012 5:35 PM:

    Is this an ad ?? Where is it displayed so women can see it ?? It's quite compelling - I sure hope it's up in PA and OH - Thanks for sharing it with us. Mimi

  • stratplayer on November 03, 2012 6:02 PM:

    That gave me goosebumps and made my eyes well up. Wonderful.

  • Anonymous on November 03, 2012 6:11 PM:

    GOP POV:
    Well, color us surprised that the d*ke sister of Al Gore is a feminist!

    Were sure she also suffers from Hot Flashes! LOL!!!
    Ok, back to me GREAT CATCH!!!

    What a GREAT song - its was I Am Woman, a decade ahead of its time.

    And she's still as beautiful on the outside, as she is on the inside.

  • exlibra on November 03, 2012 7:36 PM:

    Many thanks, Kathleen; it sure brings back memories!

    I first head that song, at 15, when the English teacher (a crusty old Scot) in my highschool (in commie Warsaw, yet!) brought the -- brand new then -- record to class, and made us all listen to it, over, and over, and over. We were asked to try and transcribe the text, which very few of us could do at the time and, at the end of class (45 minutes), she handed it to us, already transcribed, and told us to translate it, as our homework.

    I never forgot it and always had a soft spot for the song.

  • Patrick on November 03, 2012 7:42 PM:

    And now it's Willard's turn to cry...

  • Karen on November 03, 2012 7:59 PM:

    Anonymous, Lesley's real last name is Goldstein. She's not related to Al, although she did campaign for him.

    My captcha was "briny Wagedu." Make of that what you will.

  • SBcardinal on November 03, 2012 9:01 PM:

    Wonderful video, although I can't believe that almost 50 years later we have to start the lesson over.

  • RimKitty on November 03, 2012 11:29 PM:

    I shared this video on Facebook, and told my young nieces that I not only remember the song well, I remember that mine was the first generation of women that had the pill. It changed women's lives completely. Our power to choose when, where and with whom we have babies meant we had the freedom to pursue our dreams, like men have always had.

    I fear that many young women take that freedom for granted because they have always had it. But, make no mistake, the Republican party is ready, willing and able to take women back to the sixties. It's about power and the patriarchs in the grand old party feel less threatened if we are barefoot and pregnant.

  • smartalek on November 04, 2012 2:22 AM:

    I won't have web access fast enough to be able to play the vid til tomorrow at earliest, possibly not til Monday.
    Could someone please let me know if the song is the same one that the brilliant Dusty Springfield did so well?
    Thx for any answers.

  • elsbelles on November 04, 2012 2:25 AM:

    I shared this video on Facebook and tested the link. Before the video played, there was a political message to vote for Mitt! Great song or not, I deleted it.

  • martin on November 04, 2012 9:30 AM:

    @elssbelles: Yes, Dusty Springfield did do a version of this song.

  • marisa on November 04, 2012 6:47 PM:

    Lots of I, me and our bodies. No mention of God or the baby's right to life. That's the difference.

  • low-tech cyclist on November 05, 2012 12:56 PM:

    I was never a big Lesley Gore fan as a kid; anyone doing white pop in the pre-British Invasion style once the Beatles and Rolling Stones swept through sounded downright tinny by comparison.

    (I've heard the song a number of times in the background, but never tried to suss out the lyrics because the sound didn't do much for me.)

    BUT kudos to her for putting it on the line like this. It's crazy that we're re-fighting battles we thought were settled back in the 1960s.

    So as Patrick said upthread, let's make it Willard's turn to cry tomorrow night.