RIP—Lesley Gore

Lesley-Gore

On Monday, 16th February 2015, singer-songwriter, lesbian, and feminist activist passed away in New York City, aged 68. She is survived by her partner of 33 years, Lois Sasson.

Ms Gore is probably best remembered for her 1963 song “You Don’t Own Me“, a fabulously female-liberating anthem, harking in the beginning of the Second Wave (the Dikipedia entry describes it dismissively as a ‘proto feminist’ [song], completely obliterating the First Wave).

This song was covered by many artists over the years, including the fabulous Dusty Springfield, and used in the film “First Wives Club“. More recently, a lip-sync version of the song was used in late 2012 as a PSA to encourage all women to vote to protect the sovereignty over their bodies and other feminist issues, because the centuries of male-dominated politics really isn’t working out for us. Of course, even voting for majority-male politicians and male-dominated politics continues to not work for women’s rights. We still don’t have equal representation in most of the western world.

Ms Gore’s message at the end of the PSA is what inspired me to write this post, as it sums up much of the sentiment of this blog “we’re still fighting for the same things we were then”, a feminist Groundhog Day (had she passed away just two weeks earlier, it would have actually been on ‘groundhog day’). The gif used from this post came from Upworthy, however, that post was (I assume accidentally) fairly dismissive and stupidly sexist in places (and unfortunately, written by a woman). Seriously, the Upworthy title begins with “A bevy”.

In a 2010 interview, Ms Gore said of the song:

“As I got older, feminism became more a part of my life and more a part of our whole awareness, and I could see why people would use it as a feminist anthem. I don’t care what age you are — whether you’re 16 or 116 — there’s nothing more wonderful than standing on the stage and shaking your finger and singing, ‘Don’t tell me what to do.’ ”

This post was not meant to be a full obituary, two obituaries are from ABC and the NY Times (this obit peppered with dismissals). The press statement by her partner:

“She was a wonderful human being — caring, giving, a great feminist, great woman, great human being, great humanitarian”—Lois Sasson

RIP, Lesley Gore 1946-2015.

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4 thoughts on “RIP—Lesley Gore

  1. Not only that but in Canada the liberal and social democratic parties voted unanimously against the new Nordic Model inspired legislation. It was conservatives that pushed it through. The social democrats are the only ones that are firm in their pro-abortion stance. But how can I support a party that believes in fully legalizing prostitution? Yet I also understand how poverty drives many women into the rape trade and the conservatives have not helped on that issue at all. I am stuck. I cannot condone paid rape but I also want to see the social safety net protected because I know how much women need and deserve it. Male politics will never liberate us. I don’t even know if I should bother voting in this yr’s federal election.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Enough time has passed since the second wave now to realise that yep, voting in male-dominated politics is a choice between “worse” and “worserer”. But vote we still must, even if only for the “worse” rather than “worserer” options!

      But thoroughly depressing.

      The last election, I went through the entire ballot papers, checking out each one. I started with “who do I hate the least” and went down with preferences from there.

      Like

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