January 27th, 2022


You Can't Sing That Anymore

Greg Crosby

By Greg Crosby

Published July 6,2018

 You Can't Sing That Anymore
Ah, yes. The world has changed. The war of the sexes just ain't what it used to be.

No longer the cutesy battles of men against women as written by humorists such as James Thurber. The days are gone when Ricky Ricardo would roll his eyes and say to Fred Mertz, "Women! You can't live with them and you can't live without them!"

The "wife jokes" long a staple of stand-up comedians just aren't done anymore. Suddenly the women verses the men thing isn't funny.

Thanks to decades of women's lib, recent high profile sexual harassment cases, the rise of gender neutral politics, and social media which gave birth to the #METOO movement, the old stereotypes of men and women are disappearing like mad.

This represents an enormous cultural shift. And it's about time too.

Just think for a moment and consider how far we've advanced as a people now that we've finally embraced the truth. Many aspects of our daily lives have at last become politically incorrect and socially unacceptable in so many areas of what used to be our American culture.

Take popular songs for an example. Here are a few that would never be written today, let alone performed anymore.

"Standing on the Corner" from the musical "The Most Happy Fella"

Standing on a corner watching all the girls go by
Standing on a corner giving all the girls the eye
Brother if you've got a rich imagination
Give it a whirl, give it a try
Try standing on a corner watching all the girls
Watching all the girls, watching all the girls go by

Brother you can't go to jail for what you're thinking
Or for that woo look in your eye
Standing on the corner watching all the girls
Watching all the girls, watching all the girls go by

Can you imagine this disgusting tune introduced in a stage show today? They would be booed out of the theater. And rightly so. Or how about this one.

"I Enjoy Being a Girl" from the musical "Flower Drum Song"

When I have a brand new hairdo
With my eyelashes all in curls
I float as the clouds on air do
I enjoy being a girl

When men say I'm cute and funny
And my teeth aren't teeth but pearls
I just lap it up like honey
I enjoy being a girl

I flip when a fellow sends me flowers
I drool over dresses made of lace
I talk on the telephone for hours
With a pound and a half of cream upon my face

I'm strictly a female female
And my future I hope will be
In the home of a brave and free male
Who'll enjoy being a guy, having a girl like me

Nope! Can't sing that anymore, thankfully. If the show is revived, and hopefully it never will be, you can bet this number will be taken out. The same goes for "How Lovely to be a Woman" from "Bye Bye Birdie:

It's wonderful to feel
The way a woman feels,
It gives you such a glow,
Just to know,
You're wearing lipstick and heels.

How lovely to be a woman,
And have one job to do:
To pick out a boy and train him,
And then when you are through,
You've made him the man you want him to be...
Life's lovely when you're a woman like me!

How revolting! You can go on and on. "As Long As He Needs Me" from "Oliver," "My Man" from "Funny Girl," "Guys and Dolls" from the play of the same name. There are so many examples besides show tunes such as "Try a Little Tenderness" that includes lines you won't find in songs today like

She may be weary, women do get weary
Wearing the same shabby dress
And when she's weary, try a little tenderness
You won't regret it, women don't forget it
Love is their whole happiness
And it's all so easy, try a little tenderness

How stupid we were to think that these were innocent, sweet songs when now we've learned that this is nothing more than hate put to music.

Simply put, these seemingly innocuous songs are sexist, misogynistic, degrading, hostile attacks that celebrate male privilege and encourage sexual objectification and violence against women. We can all breathe easier knowing that if this kind of garbage is ever performed in public anymore it will be condemned and shut down. And those haters who engage in this level of debauchery should be silenced in any and every way possible.

If you encounter them in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, get out and create a crowd and push back on them and tell them they are not welcome anymore, anywhere.


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JWR contributor Greg Crosby, former creative head for Walt Disney publications, has written thousands of comics, hundreds of children's books, dozens of essays, and a letter to his congressman. He's been a JWR contributor since 1999.