"Husbands, love and treasure your wives, they are your most precious possessions."This was in the seventh year of the twenty-first century, over one hundred years after the Mormons stopped practicing polygamy and almost ninety years after American women got the vote.
Also it was over forty years after Lesley Gore first sang "You Don't Own Me."
Whenever I hear the song I envision Aqua Net-coiffed teenaged girls in sweater sets and knee-length pencil skirts gathered around a radio - maybe after church - and belting out the lyrics in defiance. Just like the straight-haired, bell-bottom clad girls of my day did to Helen Reddy's feminist anthem, "I Am Woman."
Of course, the Brethren, who think they do own us, consider such female role models to be tools of Satan. If that's so, I invite the Prince of Darkness to send up more of his "tools." They have an uncanny knack for being on the right side of things.
Lesley Gore died this week, too young, at the age of 68. But she left behind a legacy. She was among the most successful female solo artists of the 1960's. She was an actress as well, appearing on Broadway and, memorably, as "Pink Pussycat," Robin's love interest in the old Batman TV series.
Who could forget this scene?
Robin: How 'bout a little smooch, you're my kind of dame.
Pink Pussycat: …I'm not the kind of girl to kiss a boy on the first crime.
She led a life that mattered. At the height of her popularity Gore insisted on completing her education and earned a degree in English and American Literature from Sarah Lawrence College. She was a feminist, and after coming out as gay in 2005, an advocate for LGBT rights, hosting episodes of the PBS series, In the Life. She is survived by Lois Sasson, her partner of thirty-three years. Also by a couple of generations of empowered female fans.
Sorry, Brethren. It's now the fifteenth year of the twenty-first century and fifty years after Lesley sang it and you still don't own us.
You can cry if you want to.