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I love The Beatles. But they and their fans have a women problem | Varsity

I love The Beatles. But they and their fans have a women problem | Varsity

I love The Beatles. But they and their fans have a women problem | Varsity
July 01
11:17 2017

Why did the Beatles break up at the tail-end of the 1960s? If you’re a proponent of the popular fan theory that just won’t die, it was Yoko Ono, John Lennon’s second wife who was to blame.

In spite of several different sources, including Paul McCartney himself, discrediting the notion, it has lived on since in public consciousness. Even I once swallowed the idea of Ono as a disruptive femme fatale, only later to realise that, like the heavy-handed treatment of Marla Singer in Fight Club, the suggestion that Ono was the sole corrupting influence at the heart of the Beatles’ split is a persistent misogynistic trope.

“the suggestion that Ono was the sole corrupting influence at the heart of the Beatles’ split is a persistent misogynistic trope”

It comes as no surprise then that Ono was only credited just last week as a co-writer of John Lennon’s world-famous ‘Imagine’, almost fifty years after its release. This late credit is made even more disheartening by the fact that it was back in 1980, just before Lennon’s death, that he revealed he had borrowed lyrics from Ono’s own work, but was too “macho” at the time to give her credit. Clearly it only occurred to the National Music Publishers Association just recently that it might be fair to finally give Ono her dues.

As a life-long female fan of the Beatles, this sexism smells all too familiar. In spite of the band rocketing to fame in the 1960s precisely because of their female fans, the Beatles’ music seemed to fall into the hands of men as their style developed and moved away from the innocent riffs of ‘Love Me Do’ towards the trailblazing experiments of Sgt Pepper’s, and has remained this way since.

One of the best things about growing up a generation after the Beatles’ success is the pleasure one is able to take in slowly discovering the immense breadth and range of the music they produced over a decade. Like many British children of my age, I grew up with the Beatles’ number ones in the background, and knew every word to their earliest hits by rote. I’d watch their live performances on YouTube and envy the girls who stood screeching and swooning in the audience, their excitement a thrill that every teenage girl since has known.

Source: I love The Beatles. But they and their fans have a women problem | Varsity

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Martin Nethercutt

Martin Nethercutt

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