Early college years, young motherhood and women’s lib (sounds almost quaint doesn’t it?) coincided in my life. For some time my everyday theme song was “I Am Woman”. Spent a lot of time studying, dusting, cooking mac and cheese for my sons, and humming along with Helen Reddy…I am woman, hear me roar/In numbers too big to ignore/And I know too much to go back an’ pretend/’Cause I’ve heard it all before/And I’ve been down there on the floor/No one’s ever gonna keep me down again.
Helen Reddy died yesterday. That is a loss for a whole lot of women my age. It is especially sad that on the day of her death American attention had to be focused on two old men shouting insults at each other. Oh sure, one’s a decent-enough old guy and the other’s a bombastic lying twit, but still it’s been 49 years since we sang You can bend but never break me/’Cause it only serves to make me/More determined to achieve my final goal/And I come back even stronger/Not a novice any longer/Cause you’ve deepened the conviction in my soul and, to a degree, the world’s survival is still dependent on two old pissed-off white guys. So what happened…we weren’t determined enough?
I was…with Reddy and Steinem and Friedan and Pelosi and Ginsberg backing…determined to lead an independent, curious, and useful life and, generally, I have.
But guess what? The world is still being run by white men, black men, Asian men, Arabic men. Many incompetent, some downright evil. There are of course good men in the world, besides my honorable and intelligent friends and family members, but they’re not running the world show for the most part…and women, we aren’t even close. Men are still writing and leading the political, environmental, economic, humanitarian shit show. All over the world…all over the world…with the U.S. leading the pack. How ashamed should we be? Very ashamed.
But here’s to you Helen…may you and Ruth rest in powerful peace. GO KAMALA.
You can bend but never break me
‘Cause it only serves to make me
More determined to achieve my final goal
And I come back even stronger
Not a novice any longer
‘Cause you’ve deepened the conviction in my soul
Oh yes, I am wise
But it’s wisdom born of pain
Yes, I’ve paid the price
But look how much I gained
If I have to, I can do anything
I am strong
I am invincible
I am woman