Tangent Sunset

The History of Conscious Music by Alex Cosper

The Status of Women


The feminist movement seemed to hit a downturn in the eighties, even though media research pointed to a heavier emphasis on targeting women. In the sixties Aretha Franklin's "Respect" was an anthem for women, as was the Helen Reddy song "I Am Woman" in the seventies. But with the failure of the Equal Rights Amendment in the early eighties, it just seemed that the movement began losing popular influence as its idealism was overshadowed by the Reagan Administration's focus on traditional male-driven conservative values. Women were simply proclaiming that there should not be double standards for men and women. But this stance greatly upset the "good old boys" who were raised on the belief that men should be the ultimate decision-makers. Throughout the history of civilization women were cast into roles inferior to men but the feminist movement threatened to reshape the definition of gender roles.

More and more people began to shift back to the cultural mythology that shaped generations of social mindset. Traditionally, women were thought of by male power figures as beautiful creatures designed to please men. And that view, became the stereotype of the eighties. The view became evident through fashion. Madonna's "Material Girl," whether serious or cynical, was a song that signaled a turning away of pop culture from the quest for spirituality that marked the sixties and seventies. Radio also played a big role in breaking down gender understanding by targeting either male or female audiences. As a result, rock radio became centered on the male perspective with a growing trend toward macho cockiness whereas in pop radio women controlled the tone, but instead of equality-minded feminists they posed more and more as sex objects that command male behavior.

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