I bring her up because she passed away today at the age of 68.
At first "It's My Party" seems like a typical pouty teenager upset that her boyfriend dumped her.
The song is precisely that, and more. I like how Gore takes control in the song, even if what she's taking control of is the angst of a boyfriend bailing on her.
Maybe she's a little bit too enthralled by that cad Johnny, but she's not going to let everyone else's expectations control her.
"Play all my records, keep dancing all night
But leave me alone for awhile
'Til Johnny's dancing with me
I've got no reason to smile
It's my party, and I'll cry if I want to
Cry if I want to, cry if I wan to.
You would cry too if it happened to you."
Then, in 1964, Leslie Gore came out with the hit, "You Don't Own Me."
The lyrics, sung to the tune of some assertive minor keys, nowadays seem like only a complete dufus would have to be told this but in 1964, this was kind of groundbreaking:
"You don't own me, I'm not just one of your many toys.
You don't own me, don't say I can't go with other boys
And don't tell me what to do
And don't tell me what to say
And please, when I go out with you
Don't put me on display, 'cause
You don't own me, don't try to change me in any way."
The sad thing is, you know how I said only a complete dufus would have to be told he doesn't own any women?
If you look at a lot of the online community, especially the legions of trolls out there, any time a woman dares to voice her opinion on say, online gaming, or sexism in the computer industry or anything for that matter, the jerks pounce.
What an odd juxtaposition. The computer nerds are so futuristic, foward thinking. At the same time, a few of them continue to live in the darkest, most sexist corners of the 1950s.
At least Leslie Gore had the presense of mind in 1964 to start setting the record straight. It helped lead to generations of women who are not owned by anybody.
RIP, Leslie Gore.
Here is "You Don't Own Me:"