Author and Producer Dorothy Marcic
Australian Broadcasting Service
March 30, 2007
Dorothy Marcic has a Masters in education media and television programming, a Masters in Health Services Administration, and a doctorate in organisational behaviour and communication. She's an adjunct professor, Fulbright scholar, management consultant, she's been a delegate to the UN Economic and Social Development Summit, she's a much published author, and as if that wasn't enough, she's also a playwright, a performer - and the brains and the passion behind the hit musical Respect: a Musical Journey of Women, which tracks women's political, social, economic and emotional evolution over the 100 years by way of Top 40 pop music.
Dorothy grew up loving pop music. "I listened to all the songs like Tammy and Que Sera Sera and I will Follow Him and The Gidgets and Doris Day, all of that - I was very influenced. I probably had in that sense, the normal childhood of really liking all these pop stars."
Dorothy originally encapsulated the story of 20th Century women, using Top 40 songs from each decade, in a book, before the book became Respect the Musical. She noted that in early pop, the themes are all about co-dependence. "There was a neediness and a need to be taken care of and when you think back, women, for most of the history of humanity were dependent on men. They were dependent on the goodwill of a father, a husband, a brother, because they either couldn't get a job or if they did it was very low pay. And so women were socialised to win the good graces of a man, so the songs reflected that - Someone to Watch over Me, I Will Follow Him, Stand By Your Man. From the time popular music began in 1900 to the 60s, the majority - about 60 per cent - of Top 40 songs were co-dependent."
In the 60s, though, women got angry, and the themes of their music changed. "The first song that I think really was a teenage rebel song was You Don't Own Me, Lesley Gore," says Dorothy. "You don't own me, I'm not one of your many toys." And four years later, These Boots are Made for Walking, and then I Will Survive, which was showing some strength but still angry. This was a real break through because women hadn't sung angry songs like that before. My husband said that These Boots were Made for Walking was a song that really scared men."
In 1972, Helen Reddy's I am Woman was released. "That was also the time in the United States that the Equal Rights amendment went for ratification and a legislation called Title Nine that gave equal rights for girls in sports and Ms Magazine started. It was actually quite a momentous year. It really spoke to the hopes and dreams of women who were also re-entering the workforce and finding that they wanted more out of life then being just a tag-a-long to the man."
Dorothy feels that women's push for equality is sometimes misunderstood by men. "What women have been trying to do for the last three or four decades is help men see that our equality isn't a threat to them. It's really better for everybody cause we can be collaborative partners and actually ease some of the burden of men being the decision makers, the breadwinners. How much better to have a partner that you can share things with versus someone you have to take care of and dominate?"