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

Mid 80s to Present

fter going through Teenage Rebel and Young Adult Cynic, women had finally gone through the developmental stages to approach adulthood. All of these phases were necessary. Sometimes people complain about “those angry women” in the 60s and 70s, as if females then were evil somehow. What is essential to understand, though, is when going from co-dependent to independent, one MUST pass through anger. There is no other way around it sociologically. Perhaps one can find individual exceptions, but as a group, women needed to become angry before they could stand on their own two feet. Just as teenagers push back the parents, in order to individuate, so women had to push back.
By 1984, though, things were changing. The first real song of inner strength came from Whitney Houston. The Greatest Love of All celebrated internal resourcefulness and recognized how a nurturing childhood leads to a healthy adult. A few years later similar themes appeared in Mariah Carey’s Hero, followed by a number of tunes about strong women and their worth: Just a Girl, Independent Women, A Woman’s Worth, I and India Arie’s, about a woman accepting herself and her body as it is.


PinkIn Pink’s Stupid Girls, she wonders where all the smart people are, what happened to the ideas we had about a woman president? Which brings us to the question of exactly how far have women come. Actually, a long way. (You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby) Forty to fifty years ago there were plenty of co-dependent songs, but none about strong women who didn’t have to be angry to show their strength. Read above and see the number of songs about women who are going somewhere, with or without a man. Current news tells us it is boys who now lag behind in school. Girls are graduating at higher rates, going to graduate school, doing the yearbook, getting all the honors. They’ve got their mothers, grandmothers and great-grandmothers to thank for this. Their hard work and sacrifice paved the way for today’s generation of high-achieving women, women who also understand the importance of having a stable family and raising healthy children. The world will be safe in their hands.

Discussion questions