One of the commenters on my post “Phyllis Chesler punksmacks Naomi Wolf — couldn’t happen to a nicer girl” alluded to Helen Reddy’s song, “I am woman,” and I had the thought that my younger readers might not recognize the allusion so I went looking for the song on YouTube.
What a powerful experience it was to hear and see Ms. Reddy sing this galvanizing anthem of the women’s liberation movement! The song debuted in October 1972 shortly after I turned 19 when I was a sophomore at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and about eight months after I had come out as a lesbian. Believe you me, it was a time when it didn’t just appear that the world was against women, it really was. Why, back then, if a woman aspired to become governor of a state, or PRESIDENT!, people would say she ought to stay home and take care of her husband and children! Well! We answered back that we were determined to have it all — education, career, spouse and family! So we needed Helen Reddy’s song, and when we sang it, we put our hearts into it and it made our souls soar and gave us the ambition, courage and faith in our own ability to achieve our goals. It is in every way a magical song.