PT Leena is among a number of people that decry feminism as leading to the downfall of American society. She suggests that women need to make motherhood and children their ultimate goal and accept being “lower on the totem pole”. Ms. Leena claims that women have become men and “lost their feminity along the way”. Feminists are often likened to man haters by woman haters. What is the truth about feminists?
In “Feminisim or FemMANist? – You Decide”, I presented the top 10 You Tube videos for feminists. This list of ten You Tube videos features songs about love. Among the artists are females who dropped out of high school, have had teen pregnancies, miscarriages, been married, divorced and remarried. Some have come from large families; others grew up in extreme poverty. They may not be “bra-burning feminists”, but they are women who did not accept a label as 2nd to men “on the totem pole” or inferior. That is what being female and feminist means.
Mariah Carey – “Dreamlover”
What can I say about Mariah that has not already been said? There is nothing manly about Mariah. In this You Tube video she has a sweet, girl next door appeal. Growing up bi-racial in an often bigoted society caused hardships for Mariah. Her life has not been without it’s trials which is why she became a strong, independent woman. Offstage her main philanthropy is towards helping inner-city youth.
Barbara Streisand – “Evergreen”
“Evergreen” as performed with co-star Kris Kristoperson from the movie “A Star Is Born”. In addition to having a beautiful voice, Barbara followed her bliss despite not fitting the conventional “beauty” look. Her own mother told her she was not attractive enough for a career in show business. She proved mom wrong with a successful singing and acting career. Barbara is often in the news due to her political activism. She is a woman that stands up for what she believes is right.
Dionne Warwick – “Make It Easy On Yourself”
Dionne Warwick had so many hit love songs it is hard to choose one over the other to represent her. This You Tube video features a slide show collage of photos, album covers and show fliers. At age 65 Ms. Warwick has 6 grandchildren, is celebrating 45 years in the music industry with a world tour and promotes her own skin care system, Enyo. Offstage she lends her voice to raise money for hungry children and AIDS research.
Gloria Estefan -“Anything For You”
Gloria Estefan is an inspiration to all. After a tractor trailer plowed into her tour bus, she was severely injured with a fractured spine. Doctors told her she would not walk again. She not only walked, but rose up and continued her lively performances. Like all divas she can break your heart with a sad love song, but her rhythm is gonna get you back up on that dance floor. She is a political activist, mom and restaurant owner. This You Tube video features a live dramatic performance. When she sings some verses in Spanish, you do not need to speak the langugage to feel the love in her heart.
Whitney Houston – “I Will Always Love You”
This song was from the movie “The Bodyguard” with Mel Gibson as Whitney’s leading man. Ms. Houston is a beautiful woman with a beautiful voice. I get chills watching her lips tremble with the emotion she gives to Dolly Parton’s bittersweet song. Ms. Houston is the most awarded female artist of all time, according to Guinness World Records. With fame often comes misfortune. Her inner strength has helped her weather the storms; *bent perhaps, but not broken.
Patti LaBelle – “On My Own”
In the 1960’s, Patti LaBelle was not considered beautiful enough to be lead singer of a girl group. Her singing got them signed by a record label. Patti’s “girl group” career did not fade away with the British Invasion, it just changed direction winning a new audience. Moving unto a solo career she was loved for what might be called wild woman performances and style. Nothing wild about this You Tube video, a duet with Michael McDonald. She is considered to be one of the greatest female vocalists due to her range and continues to perform today. Offstage she has dealt with loss of her four siblings to cancer as well as her parents in a short period of time. In addition to raising her child, she raised 2 adopted and 3 of her sister’s children. She is a spokesperson for American Diabetes Association, published two cookbooks, received a GLAAD “Excellence in Media Award” among others and is an AIDS activist.
Gladys Knight -“Neither One of Us”
Where would the Pips be without a strong female lead singer! The Pips make a few seconds “guest appearance” in this You Tube video from a 1977 Los Angeles performance. Brother Ray Charles leads this sad love song with the Pips harmony as a backdrop to Gladys and Ray. Gladys’ life and music career has had it’s ups and downs. After a successful career as both R&B and pop recording artist, her current focus is on gospel recordings. Notable is that she owns a chain of chicken and waffle restaurants in her hometown of Atlanta, Georgia. Until about the age of 17 she was subjected to Jim Crow laws that discriminated against “Negros” or “colored people”.
Celine Dion – “My Heart Will Go On”
This You Tube video is a live version of Celine Dion performing her hit from the movie “Titanic”. Women often lose their love through war making this song a forever classic. Celine is a multi-linguist singer awarded with a Chopard Diamond Award for being the Best-selling Female Artist in the World. This performance on “World Children’s Day” raised money for orphans and children’s health care organizations. In addition Celine nursed her husband through cancer, is a mom, supports the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and is an entrepreneur.
Bette Midler –“The Rose”
This You Tube video is a slideshow featuring butterflies, hearts and roses set to Bette Midler’s singing “The Rose”. The video creator made a mistake attributing the song to LeAnne Rhimes. The “Divine Miss M” has found success as a comedian, singer and actress. Charity work includes founding the New York Restoration Project whose goal is revitalizing parks in the poorer neighborhoods of New York city, which also offers free environmental education to impoverished children.
Aretha Franklin – “Natural Woman”
The quality of this You Tube video is not that great, but Aretha’s performance is. The 1967 pop hit expressing a woman’s sexuality has often been imitated but no one does it like Aretha. In this live version of her hit song Aretha is older yet her beautiful smile and expressions of sheer joy makes her appear much younger. Her vocal range and change ups are as amazing as always. Dubbed “The Queen of Soul” she was the first woman inducted into the “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame” in 1987. Aretha began her music career as a gospel singer, has won numerous awards, sang opera, acted in movies and at 65 is releasing yet another album.
I challenge today’s young woman to watch these videos, check these ladies autobiographies out of the library, read their life stories , visit their websites and write an article explaining why these remarkable feminine and feminist women should sit in the back seat and let men do the all the driving. Have these ladies become men? What is the truth about feminists?
* from “I Am Woman” lyric: “you can bend, but never break me” song by Helen Reddy
Authors Note: Links to You Tube videos were active at time of publication. I did not consult these women to ask if they consider themselves feminists; opinions in this article are all mine.
Resources:Information for this article comes from following the careers of artists listed, news stories, magazine articles, reading biographies and autobiographies, in addtition to listening to public opinion on a personal level. I verified the facts I remembered by visiting websites and at Wikepedia online.
PT Leena, “Feminism or FemMANism”, Associated Content