Page 24 - Rita MacNeil of Big Pond
ISSUE : Issue 27
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1980/12/1
with Christina, and the first thing that hit me when I opened the door--I was ex? pecting maybe 4 or 5 women, and there were 50, sitting around in a circle. And this group had been going for awhile. They were talking about a demonstration they had come back from--they had been on Parlia? ment Hill, had two busloads from Toronto over--and I was sitting and listening and I couldn't believe it. I think the thing that really struck me was the strength in most of them--and that's how I was blown away, just listening to them talking. These were very articulate women--but with the same fears I had, I found out through other meetings. They were organizers and politically aware. It was just such a pow? erful thing, for me, to see that happening among women. I'd never seen that before. (And what did you desire there?) That strength. And that women's meeting gave me a sense of direction, it gave me a lot of confidence, and that's where I wrote my first song. Came back to the next meeting with a song. Because I couldn't talk to them. But I asked if they'd let me sing, and I stood up in the middle of the circle and I sang NEED FOR RESTORATION. And I guess they thought, this one is really strange. But I was just so moved by all the things they were doing, all the things they were involved in. And I never thought, you know, of women having that kind of control over their own lives before. Be? cause most of the women I traveled with, we were all married--and I wondered why we were all so damned unhappy in the after? noons when we'd sit and play cards and-- oh, it's just a personal thing. When you're dealing with the women's movement and talking about it it's sort of freaky, because I've said this before, it was like a religious revival for me--and it brought me to be very aware of every human being in a way I never ever was. My second song was BORN A WOMAN. And I wrote that song because at that time they were having a Miss Toronto Pageant, and I was trying to say how I felt about it. I never really found anything wrong with them before, or thought that much of them, really. Beautiful women, you know, and somebody's a winner and somebody's a los- er--but the women's meeting blew that wide open. (Well, what is wrong with the Miss Toronto Pageant?) Well, first of all--and this is my view--it's a meat market, you're put on display. No matter what they say about choosing you for your intelli? gence, it's not. It's based on looks and mainly looks. You're used for advertising for the whole year. It's an image that women don't need, a lot of women can't fit into, they shouldn't have those damned pressures put upon them. It's tough enough to get through this world. And I used to feel so embarrassed because I knew I would feel these things but could never articu? late it. So I wrote this song called BORN A WOMAN--and that's how I felt about it. And I stood out on the sidewalk at the Miss Toronto Pageant and sang that song. I had a vision when I was young. To make my life an interesting one, I'd worry later where my life would lead me But first to improve my outer image. Yes something else had come my way, It blocked my mind and it took away The confidence to just be me And see me through my day. And it was more than a feeling. It was more than in my mind. To be born a woman, you quickly learn. Your body will be their first concern. I can't believe I ever had the nerve to do it. And people were booing us and throwing things, and all these beautiful women were rushing out of cars into the thing--and there's this protest circle. And you think of some of the things that are funny now-- but I was singing my heart out. "Who is this nut on the corner?" But that was for myself, first. Yes. And you have to be very careful. Because these women--the women in the pageant--you can't attack them--you can't do that. You have to be very careful when you are involved with something like that. They believe very very much in what they're doing, and they feel very honoured. And I can understand CANADA'S UUIGISr AND MST-KNOWN RiCOSO STOtI SYDNEY SHOPPING MALL. PRINCE ST. Wide selecticn of every kind of record & cassette. Featuring complete catalogue ordering & accessories. "The only record store you'll ever need." SENATOR'S CORNER. GLACE BAY J-.ooking for an Alternative? Credit Unions are unique financial organizations offering a viable alter? native to services provided by other organizations. Would you like to learn more--how you can become a member? For a free information booklet, "Credit Unions Inside Out," write or call: Gordon Harmer, Director of Communications, Credit Union Central of Nova Scotia, P. 0. Box 9200, Station 'A', Halifax, N. S. Tel: (902) 453-4220. CREDIT UNIONS THE UNIQUE ALTERNATIVE! (24) A Bookshop for All of Cape Breton Breton Bookshop 235 Charlotte Street (P. 0. 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