When I decided to take on the subject matter of this song, I wanted to include a woman's perspective. Who better to ask than someone who has been on both sides of the fence!
I paid a visit to Kathy Clayton, recovering feminist and founder of Ygnacio Valley Women For Men. Kathy is saved now, has a good marriage and three adorable children. When I asked her what she thought of "I Am Woman," Kathy immediately went pale, her eyes widened and her entire body grew rigid. "THAT song was written by a MAN!" she barked. Catching herself, Kathy blushed and then apologized. "It's so difficult to break old habits," she told me. Kathy didn't realize the value of her bitter words that day. Not only did she reinforce my opinion that radical feminism is based on anger rather than truth, she also refreshed my memory of the old and cleverly devised rumor that followed this song around.
Helen Reddy did indeed pen the lyrics to "I Am Woman," as what she called in a Newsweek interview "a chest-beating song of pride." Helen hand-picked an Australian composer, Ray Burton, to set her words to music, and shortly afterward he was forced back to his homeland due to "immigration problems." I Am Woman was released as a single in June of 1972 and flopped, rejected by the male-dominated radio industry. Unfortunately, the song was later added to the score of the motion picture Stand Up And Be Counted, a women's lib exploitation comedy featuring Steve Lawrence, whose 1963 hit "Go Away Little Girl" encouraged fidelity in male-female relationships. How times had changed! Angry mobs of women who saw this film relentlessly demanded that radio stations play this record and began buying every copy they could find. As a result, spineless radio personnel gave in and reluctantly played the song. It soared to #1, and the women emerged victorious.
The "women's movement" of the 70's has taken it's toll on the Christian faith, as its strong appeal is more than many women can resist, particularly those with weak-willed husbands. God's word tells us in Ephesians 5:23, "For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church." Wow, what a comparison! Who would dare stand up to the Lord Jesus Christ and demand equal rights with Him? Yet He commands the wife to submit to her husband in a similar manner. The Bible makes it very clear in passage after passage that the wife is to honor and submit to the husband at all times, not just when it's convenient or only when she thinks he is right. How sad it is to see the chaos that has run rampant among non-Christians crossing over into the homes of believers.
It is interesting to note that the song proceeding "I Am Woman" in the #1 spot was "Papa Was A Rolling Stone" by the Temptations, and was followed by Billy Paul's "Me And Mrs. Jones," a song about ignoring the guilt in a steamy extramarital affair. It's no wonder the divorce rate soared that year! Helen remained successful through the first half of the decade. She seemed to change her tune by 1975 with her last top 10 entry "Ain't No Way To Treat A Lady." What happened, Helen? I thought you were invincible!. Man alive, what some people will do for a buck!