Women in Song: From Codependence to Independence

Jun 25, 2014

When Professor Dorothy Marcic was asked to give a talk about how women have been portrayed in song lyrics over the course of the 21st century, she was shocked to find that nobody had really look into it, so she did.

“What I found was that the songs that resonated on Top 40 charts, have shadowed the women’s empowerment movement. Songs start out being very co-dependent, like in Little Peggy March’s ‘I Will Follow Him’ and end up being very empowering. Take ‘I Will Survive’ by Gloria  Gaynor," she explains.

Marcic wrote her research into a one woman play, where she fashioned a narrative based on the lives of women in her family and played Top 40 hits like “You Don’t Own Me” by Leslie Gore and “These Boots are Made for Walking” by Nancy Sinatra. She took that all over the world, and it really resonated with people. Today, that one woman show has evolved into a musical which has been touring the state of Iowa as this year’s Iowa Summer Rep  production. Director Eric Forsythe says that “Respect: A Musical Journey of Women” has been sold out across the state for most of its shows.

During this interview Charity Nebbe talks with Marcic about women in song throughout the 21st century and about her musical. Director Eric Forsythe of the University of Iowa’s Theatre Department also joins the conversation.