For the Love of Him–The Sexist 70’s

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Don’t think for a minute, young fans of rap music, that your favorite gangstas invented sexism, misogyny, and male chauvinism. Thanks to guys like Tom Jones, Mac Davis and R.B. Greaves, we were doing quite nicely in that regard forty years ago.

It was a different time, and if you lived through it you thought nothing of singing along with lyrics like “wish you could come but I don’t need no woman taggin’ along“. Many of these songs survive to this day via heavy radio airplay because…well, they just made sexism so damn catchy! The only difference is you may feel a little self-conscious singing along today.


Mac Davis: “Baby Don’t Get Hooked On Me”


With lyrics like:

Just keep it friendly girl ’cause I don’t want to leave,
Don’t start clinging to me girl ’cause I can’t breathe


Baby, baby don’t get hooked on me.
‘Cause I’ll just use you then I’ll set you free….

…how could a woman resist the charms of one Mac Davis?


R.B. Greaves: “Take A Letter Maria”


R.B. Greaves (nephew of Sam Cooke) finds his wife in the arms of another man, so he dictates a letter to his secretary letting said wife and his lawyer know he’ll be eschewing couples counselling (not to mention any responsibility for the obvious marital problems) and leaving to start a new life. Oh, and p.s. miss secretary: he’s free for dinner tonight if you’re game for a rebound relationship.

What a model of sensitivity he must have been as a husband.


Chairmen Of The Board: “Pay To The Piper”


In light of their 1970 hit “Pay to the Piper” I wonder what kind of office The Chairmen of the Board ran. They probably had a lot of turnover among office secretaries. Sample lyric:

I spend my money on you–every dime
You even told me you had a good time
The night is through and we’re all alone
You said it’s time that you went home
You’ve been wined and dined in front of me
Just how nice must I be?
I played the tune, you dug the beat
Now come on, girl–be nice to me

If you dance to the music, don’t you know
You’ve got to pay to the piper
Ask your mama!

…You say that you haven’t known me long
How much longer will this go on?
Girl, my patience is wearing thin
I wanna be more than just a friend
Girl, I need some love desperately
Stop teasing, girl–take care of me

I think my favorite line is “Ask your mama!” That’s right–the woman who bore you will tell you the score: You were raised to be the plaything of any “gentleman” willing to foot the bill for dinner and a couple bevies. Don’t test his patience! Just…you know, take care of him! Don’t tease a guy by going out to dinner and trying to get to know him, dammit!

And don’t make me tell your father you won’t put out, young lady.


Cornelius Brothers and Sister Rose: “Treat Her Like a Lady”

sister rose

Possibly the most unintentionally ironic song ever. Cornelius Brothers and sister Rose espouse gentlemanly treatment of women–but only as a means to the end of manipulation and eventual domination. The song’s title gives the false hope that these guys get it, but lines like “strange as it seems…you can’t treat a woman mean” belie the apparent good intentions. More sample lyrics:

All my friends had to ask me
Somethin’ they didn’t understand
How I get all the women
In the palms of my hand

And I told them, treat her like a lady
The best you can do
You got to treat her like a lady, and she’ll give in to you…

You know a woman is sentimental
And so easy to upset

So make her feel
That she’s for real

And she give you happiness…

So my friend, there you have it
I said it’s the easy simple way
If you fail, uh, ta do this
Don’t blame her if she looks my way

‘Cause I’m gonna treat her like a lady

So affectionately
I’m gonna treat her like a lady
She’ll give into me


Tom Jones: “She’s A Lady”


Tom Jones’ “She’s a Lady” must be reprinted in its entirety to be believed. If there were a trophy to award for sexism in a song, Tom’s name would be engraved in perpetuity for this masterpiece of musical condescension:

Well, she’s all you’d ever want
She’s the kind I like to flaunt and take to dinner
But she always knows her place
She’s got style, she’s got grace, she’s a winner
She’s a lady
Oh, whoa, whoa, she’s a lady
Talkin’ about that little lady
And the lady is mine

Well, she’s never in the way
Always something nice to say, and what a blessin’
I can leave her on her own
Knowin’ she’s OK alone and there’s no messin’
She’s a lady
Oh, whoa, whoa, she’s a lady
Talkin’ about that little lady
And the lady is mine

Well, she never asks very much
And I don’t refuse her
Always treat her with respect
I never would abuse her
What she’s got is hard to find
And I don’t want to lose her
Help me build a mountain
From a little pile of clay, hey hey hey

Well, she knows what I’m about
She can take what I dish out, and that’s not easy
But she knows me through and through
And she knows just what to do and how to please me
She’s a lady…


Bobbi Martin: “For The Love Of Him”


1970’s women were happy to chime in on the joys and sorrows of living in a man’s world, too. Check out Bobbi Martin, who without a trace of irony instructs fellow members of the weaker sex in the art of behaving like a cocker spaniel:

When he opens the door says I’m home
Beware of the look in his eyes
They tell you the mood he’s in
What kind of day it’s been
For the love of him
Make him your reason for living
Give all the love you can give him
All the love you can…

I’d like to think Eminem’s misogynist rantings will sound as silly forty years from now. It will be a sign we live in a more enlightened world.

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