In the late 1960s, feminists across the country were working hard toward a more equal society for women. Tired of being mistreated in their homes and offices, diminished solely for not being born male, they were finally beginning to make serious strides toward monumental changes that women are still benefiting from today. I know I’m grateful to those who came before me so I could enjoy the basic liberties they were denied for so long.
Around the same time, this classic country song was making waves on the radio and ruffling feathers within the feminist community as it grew more and more popular. In 1968, Tammy Wynette wrote what would become her all-time biggest hit, “Stand by Your Man,” in a short 15-minute period with collaborator Billy Sherrill. At first, she wasn’t a big fan of the song either since it was so vastly different from any of her previous recordings. Ironically, the other single she released earlier that year was called “D-I-V-O-R-C-E,” and she and Sherrill thought it would be the one to become her signature tune.
But despite backlash from those who thought it was an anti-feminist anthem, the song became a giant success. Wynette reached #1 on the country charts and even crossed over to #16 on the pop charts as well. She defended the lyrics against all of the criticism, explaining it doesn’t tell women to put their needs second to their husbands. Rather, it encourages them to remember that loving someone unconditionally, as in marriage, means acknowledging they have flaws, too. After all, they are “just a man.”
Take a look at her 1975 performance below and be sure to SHARE with your friends!
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