About Respect

Respect Study Guide

Table of Contents:

Background | Social Conditions During the Decades | Discussion Questions | Worksheets & Activities
References | Appendices

Social Conditions During the Decades

1900-1920 | 1929-1939 | 1940-1949 | 1950-mid-60s | 1961-1970 | 1970-early 80s | Mid-80s to present & Summary

1961 - 1970

Gloria GaynorDuring this decade, we had the end of the co-dependent phase, but it did overlap with the new phase of anger. Song such as I Will Follow Him, Johnny Get Angry, Where the Boys Are, End of the World, and Bobby’s Girl were fun songs, but nowhere independent. Perhaps the first song to push back was 1964’s You Don’t Own Me, sung by Leslie Gore, which came out one year after Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique, often referred to as the spark that began the women’s movement. Friedan talked about “the problem with no name,” that women felt unbalanced, but did not know why. High rates of alcholism and tranquilizer use were the results, she maintained.

SingerDuring the mid-sixties, women began to attend consciousness-raising groups, where for the first time they started to get in touch with their anger, their resentment, to understand they had been held down, oppressed. Some writers believed the women’s movement was an outgrowth of the freedom during WWII, which was squelched in the 50s, only to rear its head again as the women’s movement of the 60s.

Other angry songs followed, such as Nancy Sinatra’s These Boots are Made for Walkin’ (the song that really scared men). Still angry, but moving towards independence was Gloria Gaynor’s I will Survive, an anthem to a formerly needy/dependent women who found her own strength, a theme that was finally resonating for many women.

Next decade 1970-early 80s

Previous Decade 1950-mid-60s