Yesterday, I was at the Pride Parade soaking up all the love and beauty of each and every one of us. Three young women walked by me and written across their bared chests was, “Free the Nipple.” It made me smile and feel proud that these women were baring their chests.
In the 1960s and 1970s, many women including myself were baring our chests in another way. “No bra for me.” I wore no bra because I believed in naturalness. No bra, no make-up, no razor to shave my armpits or legs. Just the natural me. It was freeing and wonderful to accept my body and not be bounded up by man’s idea of what Miss America should look like.
Many times I would think why can men go out bare-chested and not women? Men were not separated from their naturalness. Performing as a singer with a symphony, I was told to wear a bra. I had to be separated from my naturalness. I was told to make sure my breasts were in control. I had to bound them up so they didn’t move at all. I had to keep them hidden.
As a young girl in the 1970s, being natural seemed right. Especially out in nature. Skinny dipping and laying out in the summer sun. It unleashed positive accolades from my mind to my body. I started to love my body. I loved everything about it. In loving my body, I owned it. That was empowering. I stood differently, I walked differently. I breathed differently.
When I saw those three young women owning their bodies, I just wanted to say, “Yeah! Go be you! Love your bodies. Be proud. Be prideful. No matter what shape, what size, what color, let us all love our bodies.”
Recently, I watched the episode, “Mother Mercy” on Games of Thrones. I have watched all of Season 5. This season has been an amazingly violent season for the women characters on this show. My gut reaction has produced anger towards this type of brutality to the woman characters. I was curious to see in my research that there were no female writers or directors for Season 5 episodes.
Why is this? How could this be in 2015? No women writers or directors? What is it about Hollywood? Shutting out women and silencing women has been a theme this season. When women are shut out or silenced in the creative process, boundaries are crossed. The perpetual theme of keeping women down becomes a strong message to all of us. We must remember that the Film and TV industry is controlled by men. Rape, physical abuse, maiming, brutality to young girls, shaming. Are those the messages that men want to continue to send out towards women in 2015? I QUESTION THIS. I question what can change this. Roles for women have been increasing in television but we still need equality in numbers when it comes to writing and directing roles. In Season 5 of Games of Thrones, I am questioning that if there were more women writers and directors, would the brutality of women have been so blatant? This is what I am wondering?
I have been honored to have taught many women in my vocal studio. It has been a special joy to me as a teacher. Especially when I get to be that person that they share their songs with. These women have been as young as 9 years old to 60 years old. When we are exploring songwriting in my vocal studio, there are some who don’t finish writing their songs. I say to them that your stories are what other women need to hear. We need to keep generating more stories from women. More stories about our struggles about all the choices we make. But when I hear “I don’t finish my songs…” I say to them that you are important. You are important to me and all the other women behind me and in front of me. I want women to create more songs. I would love the air waves to be saturated with women songs. I would love to see more women bands out there performing. If we make our stories important, then maybe there will be a shift in the music industry where women will be in greater numbers than before.
I never thought I had stories to tell but maybe I didn’t think my stories were important too. But I educated myself. I took classes from inspiring women writers. They never said, “No, this isn’t good.” They said, “Keep writing.” I did. I kept writing, reading, and creating more stories.
Make your day important. Doesn’t matter if you have 20 minutes. Use the 20 minutes to write a song. The chorus. That is simple. It is the “I want.” We all have something that we want.
“I want to shake, shake, shake.”
“I want to dare, dare, dare.”
“I want to love, love, love.”
“I want to eat, eat, eat.”
“I want to laugh, laugh, laugh.”
“I want to live, live, live.”
“I want to be, be, be.”
Believe in yourselves. Write today. Write tomorrow, Keep writing your stories. Finish one, then go on. Don’t stop to judge them. Write from your gut and furiously. Go. Write for 20 minutes. Go!