In 1964, Lesley Gore belted out â€śYou Donâ€™t Own Me” and a feminist song was born.
Itâ€™s still resonating in the 21st century as debate over women’s issues bubbles in the United States before Nov. 6.
On Monday, a video hit YouTube with Gore introducing her song saying, Ââ€śIâ€™m Lesley Gore and I approve this message.â€ť
The video features many women, girls and a few indie stars of all ages lip-syncing the song, and, at times, holding signs about their reproductive freedom. â€śMy body is not a battleground,â€ť read one. Another said, â€śGet Your Rosaries Off My Ovaries.â€ť
The video, labeled as â€śYouDonâ€™tOwnMePSA,â€ťÂ is the mastermind of Sarah Sophie Flicker, a law school graduate, filmmaker, trapeze artist, mother and leader of New Yorkâ€™s The Citizens Band, a cabaret collective that makes political statements.
She writes in an e-mail to PAPER magazine about the video: â€śPersonally, I’m struck by the fact that we are teetering dangerously close to a situation where my daughter won’t have the same rights I’ve enjoyed my entire life and that scares the heck out of me. Women constituted 60% of last elections voters. We can win this thing. We just have to agitate, motivate, and get out the darn vote!â€ť
She asked several friends including Carrie Brownstein, a guitarist and vocalist in Wild Flag and star of â€śPortlandia,â€ť teen fashion blogger Tavi Gevinson, creator of the website â€śRookie,â€ť who recently asked for an interview with President Obama, and Miranda July, a popular performance artist.
The video hits as womenâ€™s rights become a critical concern leading into Election Day.
â€śMitt Romney and the Republican Party are determined to overturn Roe V. Wade,â€ť the summary under the video states. â€śRomney has not supported equal pay for women (The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act). Romney has vowed to defund Planned Parenthood. Romney has vowed to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Romney doesn’t want health care to cover birth control. Romney says same sex marriage should be banned with a Constitutional Amendment.â€ť
In last weekâ€™s debate, Romney became the punch line for jokes as he mentioned that he had â€śbinders full of womenâ€ť as he was hiring them for top position in his cabinet as Massachusettsâ€™ governor. It was in response to a question about equal pay for women, which Romney never fully answered. Â
Republicans argue the war on women is a myth, but many candidates, both Republican and Democrat, have shown that is not the case.
Missouri Republican Senate candidate Rep. Todd Akin has led the charge with a variety of remarks. He said in August that women victims of what he described as “legitimate rape” rarely experience pregnancy from that rape. This weekend, he called his opponent, Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill, a dog. An Akin aide went further on Monday, tweeting a profanity about McCaskill.
Last week, Arizona Democratic senate candidate Richard Carmona, who has had a difficult time connecting with female voters, told a male moderator in his debate that he was â€śprettierâ€ť than CNNâ€™s Candy Crowley.
Itâ€™s that kind of rhetoric â€śYou Donâ€™t Own Meâ€ť protests. The women starring in the video obviously endorse Obama and encourage other women to do the same: â€śOur vote alone can win this electionâ€¦A vote for Obama sends a message: This war on women must end. We will not go backwards.â€ť
The gender gap has narrowed in recent weeks, and thatâ€™s what scares women like Gore.
At the videoâ€™s end, the former 1960s teen idol, now 66, says, â€śItâ€™s hard for me to believe but weâ€™re still fighting for the same things we were then. Yes, ladies, weâ€™ve got to come together and get out there and vote and protect our bodies. They’re ours. Please vote.â€ť
Suzi Parker is an Arkansas-based political and cultural journalist and author of â€śSex in the South: Unbuckling the Bible Belt.â€ť Follow her on Twitter at @SuziParker