Praising Laura Lee: Women’s Love Rights and Anti Slut Shaming by Leighann Morris

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Laura Lee is one of the most underrated feminists of all time. I’ve been listening to her music all day, and really believe that her vocalisation of women’s issues that advocate independence, freedom, and choice should make Lee and her music a defining part of 1970s America. It seems she has been more than a little forgotten about, so I would like to share her music and lyrics with you.

She was born in 1945 and grew up in Detroit, learning to sing in Gospel Group The Meditations Singers:

Eventually she embarked on a solo career in 1965, swapping biblically inspired gospel songs for soulful melodies that expressed personal experiences of the trials and tribulations of being a woman in the 70s. Her first hit was “Dirty Man”, a song that tells the story of finding out about a cheating partner whilst doing the cleaning:

In 1971 she wrote and recorded “Women’s Love Rights”, the lyrics of which I would like to bring your attention.

Lee’s introduction in the track calls on women to liberate themselves and learn about their “love rights”:

“Hey, hear me girls
Oh, stand up
To all the women liberators
And men sympathizers
I thank you
For I’m Laura Lee
I’m starting a new movement today
For women’s love rights”.

The chorus echoes the same message, implying that women should break free from the “one man only” mould, and “love” multiple men, like men are socially accepted to do with women.

“Stand up and fight
For your love rights
Love who you wanna
‘Cause a man is sure gonna”

Lee’s verses go into more detail about the double standards of men, and the repression of women: 

“We do the washing
We cook and sew
Babies tie you down
While your man is on the go
Girls
You gotta right
Go out at night
Sitter’s all around
To let you paint the town”

“Listen
We love one man
Trying to be fair
He’s got three women
A pair, and a spare
He loves who he pleases
While you’re at home in need
That’s unsatisfaction
A piece of the action”

Lee’s pained lyrics voiced a frustration with stay-at-home women; women who were expected to cook and clean instead of enjoy their lives. To paraphrase Lee: why can you go out and fuck everyone and I have to stay in and be a “woman”? Am I less of a “woman” if I do the same as a man? She encourages women to “love who you wanna, cause a man sure is gonna”, in other words: liberate yourself, fuck who you want, and don’t be ashamed.

The movement of women’s “love rights” is still topical today, exemplified in the recent sway of hipsters praising rapper Brooke Candy for her empowering feminist messages in Das Me:

Brooke’s first verse calls on women to reclaim the word “slut”:

“I’m a super bitch, I fuck it up, I do this shit
You say that I’m a slut
It ain’t your business who I’m fucking with
A dude could fuck 3 bitches and they’d say that he’s the man
But I get it in with twins, she’s a whore
That’s what they saying
It’s time to take the back “Slut” is now a compliment
A sexy-ass female who running shit and confident
Lady who on top of it, a female with a sex drive
Lyrically don’t fuck with me, the greatest in the world
Live living on my pussy, all my ladies let me hear you
I’m a CEO, Dream girl, Drug Dealer
Real just like my titties you can even cop a feel-a
Finger licking good, treat my pussy like a meal-a
Talk about my tit size I need to see your dick size
Show me what you’re working with I better win a big prize
Next time they call you a slut
Brooke Candy tell you not to give a fuck”

Brooke, your freaky-ass dreads and gold plated catsuits aren’t turning me on, but your lyrical content is on point. I’m probably not going to shout about my pussy whilst writhing on top of a car, looking like a character from a Japanese anime movie, BUT you’re promoting a positive anti slut-shaming message.

Lets all remember that Laura Lee was spreading this message in 1972 (with way better songs and no close ups of her pussy). ALL PRAISE LAURA LEE!

 

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