I turned 12 in 1971.
Here I am on my birthday . . . sporting a "me-made" flannel skirt and unfortunate bangs. (And I swear, our house was not as drab as that photo would indicate.) A lot of things were changing and happening in 1971, including my family's move from northern Illinois . . . to Cheyenne, Wyoming. It was an interesting time to be 12, and on the leading edge of adolescence.
- The 26th Amendment was passed in 1971, lowering the voting age in the U.S. to 18.
- The Apollo space missions were still landing on the moon.
- Nixon was the president.
- The New York Times began publishing The Pentagon Papers.
- China was admitted to the UN.
- Disney World opened in Florida. Greenpeace was formed. NPR broadcast for the first time.
- Jim Morrison died. Lance Armstrong was born.
- The pocket calculator was invented by the Sharp Company.
- We all gathered around our TVs to watch Mary Tyler Moore.
And this song was released . . .
I actually remember the first time I heard the song. I was at a 4-H meeting (my 4-H club was called Flour Power) and we had the TV on while we all sewed together. Helen Reddy had just been thrust into the spotlight with the release of "I Am Woman" -- a song so earth-shattering that it made the national news! Anyway, I - along with all the other Flour Power girls - stopped our stitching to watch and listen. We were entranced! We'd never heard such a powerful song before, and it spoke to us immediately.
It became an anthem, of course. A Power Song for women -- and especially for a 12-year-old on the cusp of growing up in a world that was changing fast. I still hum the song to myself whenever I feel empowered . . . or feel like I need to draw on my own strength.
Thanks, Helen Reddy.
For singing out in 1971.
And for giving a 12-year-old with bad bangs and sad knee socks a theme song.
I am woman.
Hear me roar!