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.’ ”
“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.