Friday, January 9, 2015

Friday Tunes: One's On the Way

This week’s installment of labour themes in pop culture features “One’s on the way” by Loretta Lynn. Lynn shines a (rather twang-y) spotlight on the disproportionate responsibility women bear for social reproduction (e.g., child- and elder-care, making dinner, doing the laundry). While less easily quantified than the ongoing wage-gap between men and women, the “second shift” is an important practical impediment gender equality by limiting women's ability to participate in the workforce.

Lynn cleverly contrasts (then) pop-culture representations of relatively privileged women (“They say to have her hair done Liz flies all the way to France”) with the lived reality of less privileged women (“But here in Topeka the rain is a fallin'/The faucet is a drippin' and the kids are a bawlin'”). As an aside, concepts like child care and mothering are usually constructed in very narrow and universally positive ways. If you google up images of either term, you get happy, upper-class pictures. I had to hunt for the "exhausted mom" picture above and it is still pretty "Better Homes and Gardens".

I chose the Muppet's version of this song because… well, I like the Muppets. It is interesting that the Muppet’s cut out the reference to birth control (“the pill”). This seems to amplify Lynn’s point that most lower class women had (and still have) little control over their fertility. This arrangement creates structural conditions for women that perpetuates the existing distribution of social and economic roles.

They say to have her hair done Liz flies all the way to France
And Jackie's seen in a discotheque doin' a brand new dance
And the White House social season should be glittering and gay
But here in Topeka the rain is a fallin'
The faucet is a drippin' and the kids are a bawlin'
One of them a toddlin' and one is a crawlin' and one's on the way

I'm glad that Raquel Welch just signed a million dollar pact
And Debbie's out in Vegas workin' up a brand new act
While the TV's showin' Newlyweds a real fun game to play
But here in Topeka the screen door's a bangin'
The coffee's boilin' over and the wash needs a hangin'
One wants a cookie and one wants a changin' and one's on the way

Now what was I doin' Jimmy get away from there darn there goes the phone
Hello honey what's that you say you're bringin' a few ole buddies home
You're callin' from a barn get away from there
No not you honey I was talkin' to the baby wait a minute honey the door bell
Honey could you stop at the market and hello hello well I'll be

The girls in New York City they all march for women's lib
And Better Homes and Gardens shows the modern way to live
And the pill may change the world tomorrow but meanwhile today

Here in Topeka the flies are a buzzin'
The dog is a barkin' and the floor needs a scrubbin'
One needs a spankin' and one needs a huggin' Lord one's on the way
Oh gee I hope it ain't twins again

-- Bob Barnetson


Jenifar said...
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Bob Barnetson said...

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