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The Beatles as feminists
15 November 2020
9.12pm
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Dark Overlord
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Edit by Joe: I removed a survey link which originally opened this thread. The OP was posting the link on several threads but wasn’t otherwise engaging in the forum, so their account was removed.

Welcome @lydiarosefm i’m glad you decided to join the forum.

While your survey was interesting, i don’t think i’d consider The Beatles to be feminists. Sure, they wanted all people to be treated the same but that’s not really feminism, that’s just being a decent human being and there’s plenty of instances where they did some very un-feminist things.

A great example of this is how Yellow Submarine has an all male cast (bar a few non-speaking background characters). Don’t get me wrong, i LOVE this film (their best IMO) and have no problem with this personally but a key component of feminism is diversity, of which there is none.

Also, as much as i HATE to bring this up, all 4 Beatles cheated on their wives (or fiancée in Paul’s case). Of course, all 4 of them later regretted it and became better husbands later in life but feminists (as well as women in general) want their husbands to be loyal to them and The Beatles didn’t become better husbands until after they broke up.

Not to mention, they regularly objectified women, something feminists hate. Take this comment from Ringo regarding the time he met German actor Marlene Dietrich during their iconic 1963 performance at the Royal Variety Show:

Marlene Dietrich was also on. I met her and I remember staring at her legs – which were great – as she slouched against a chair. I’m a leg-man: ‘Look at those pins!’
Now this isn’t to say that The Beatles were against feminism or never supported feminist talking points. For example, they challenged male stereotypes by growing their hair out and they were one of the first rock bands to write songs that weren’t about romantic love, with Rubber Soul having 3 (Nowhere Man , The Word , and In My Life ). But to call them feminists would be a huge stretch IMO.

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16 November 2020
1.04pm
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sir walter raleigh
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Lennon was a self-identified feminist, engaging in lots of feminist activity alongside Yoko, although his reputation with women is terrible because of his abuse of Cynthia. I do believe that John cared about feminism and as genuinely upset by the inequality that he saw. “Woman is the N****r of the World is a great example of him really trying to understand women’s struggles.

As for George, he isn’t quite as clear, however, his attitude towards Patty Boyd with Eric Clapton seems to be at the very least non-possessive. He just asks if she’s coming home with him or Eric, then later remarks how it’s better she be with him than some bum or something to that extent. So while his infidelities were rampant, it doesn’t seem like he was hypocritical or control over his wife, even as a younger man. George is also tied to classical institutions of Indian music and philosophy, which unfortunately have deeply rooted histories in controlling women’s bodies and excluding women and other non-elite from practicing in these classical institutions. Ravi Shankar and His daughter have actually done a lot to progress the field in recent decades, combined with the popular surge aided by George.

George himself gave the Maharishi the benefit of the doubt over Mia Farrow’s sexual assault allegation (although the origin of the allegation is controversial) while John immediately chose to condemn the Maharishi for his behavior. 

Paul and Ringo are still alive, and while they’ve both had some uncomfortable history with women, particularly Ringo who unfortunately has a slightly violent history of domestic issues during his heavy alcoholism days. I’m sure both are very supportive of the feminist cause in today’s day and age through social media.

Generally, the Beatles aren’t associated with the progressive sides of Racial and Sexual politics, despite being under the radar advocates throughout their careers while directly or indirectly contributing to sexist institutions racial inequality in the music industry. It is unfortunate and complicated. I like to hope most Beatles aren’t proud of their history with women or the complicated way in which they usurped rock and roll from black America, however, there likely are some horrible people who are happy about these things.

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vonbontee, The Hole Got Fixed, Vera Chuck and Dave

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-Brian Wilson, Surfer Girl

24 November 2020
8.33am
gabhold1
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although i’m not writing an essay about The Beatles as feminists, i was always wondering similar things. thanks for sharing, i really love hearing more stuff like this. any other update is much appreciated

4 December 2020
5.14am
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Vera Chuck and Dave
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4 December 2020
8.01am
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Ahhh Girl
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Vera Chuck and Dave said
Run For Your Life

/endthread

  

But what about

Man I was mean but I’m changing my scene.

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4 December 2020
11.43am
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Little Piggy Dragonguy
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Ahhh Girl said

Vera Chuck and Dave said
Run For Your Life

/endthread

But what about

Man I was mean but I’m changing my scene. 

He was only saying he doesn’t beat women anymore. That doesn’t say much of anything, if you ask me. 

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All living things must abide by the laws of the shape they inhabit 

4 December 2020
1.22pm
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Dark Overlord
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If you look at the line, it says:

“I used to be cruel to my woman, i beat her and kept her apart from the things that she loved, man i was mean but i’m changing my scene and i’m doing the best that i can.”

Sure, it says both “i beat her” and “i’m changing my scene” but that doesn’t mean that John and Paul are only changing their views on women when it comes to beating them, as it would make much more sense for them to just list the worst mistakes they’ve made instead of every single one.

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4 December 2020
3.05pm
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Little Piggy Dragonguy
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Dark Overlord said
If you look at the line, it says:

“I used to be cruel to my woman, i beat her and kept her apart from the things that she loved, man i was mean but i’m changing my scene and i’m doing the best that i can.”

Sure, it says both “i beat her” and “i’m changing my scene” but that doesn’t mean that John and Paul are only changing their views on women when it comes to beating them, as it would make much more sense for them to just list the worst mistakes they’ve made instead of every single one. 

But Paul was mad about his girlfriend/fiancee having success of her own and was unfaithful to her. John was unfaithful to Cynthia and did very little to help with the child they shared. From that information it seems like their views on women weren’t the best and they weren’t particularly respectful. 

The following people thank Little Piggy Dragonguy for this post:

Vera Chuck and Dave

All living things must abide by the laws of the shape they inhabit 

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