63-Year-Old Punk-Pop Star Cyndi Lauper Supports Feminism
A little more than three decades ago, singer Cyndi Lauper told us that girls just want to have fun. Today, at age 63, Lauper is teaching us that mature women can still have a good time.
She also says that they can continue speaking out on important social issues such as gender, sexuality, and aging. They are also establishing a strikingly personal sense of beauty and fashion.
Over the years, there have been many interviews about her song, “Girls Just Want to Have Fun.” It was the 1983 mega-hit that propelled Cyndi Lauper to stardom. She has been asked many times about the single that became a sing-along, dance-along feminist anthem.
Cyndi says, “It was very blatantly feminist. It meant that girls want to have the same experience that any man could have.”
Girls Just Want Their MTV
But as successful as the song was on its own, it garnered even more popularity from the supporting video showed on MTV. In the book I Want My MTV, Lauper explained her intention for the video, which is still one of the more popular in MTV history.
She explained, “I wanted ‘Girls Just Want to Have Fun’ to be an anthem for women around the world – and I mean all women. I wanted a sustaining message that we are powerful human beings. I made sure that when a woman saw the video, she would see herself represented, whether she was thin or heavy, glamorous or not, and whatever race she was”.
A Distinguished Career After “Girls”
Using “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” as a springboard, Lauper went on to enjoy a stellar career in both music and activism. She sold 50 million records and possesses two Grammys, an Emmy, and a Tony. She wrote the music for the award-winning Broadway smash Kinky Boots.
As a social reformer, Lauper has worked tirelessly for those considered as outsiders in society. She has organized a campaign against the bullying of gay people at schools and workplaces. She has pushed for the passage of the Hate Crimes Prevention Act and built a homeless shelter for LGBT youth in her native New York City.
The Fun Does Not Have to Stop
Lauper is currently on tour supporting her latest release Detour, which is a compilation of classic country songs she listened to as a youngster in Queens. Interviewed at various tour stops, Lauper continues to be asked about her music and her activism. As you might expect, the fact that she turned 63 on this tour, questions about aging have been added.
In an interview with Vogue (and there is something just so delightful about the ever punky, quirky, thrift-shop wardrobe-wearing Lauper appearing in that fashion magazine), the singer shared her views on fashion, beauty, and aging.
She explains, “When you’ve lost your spirit that’s not good,” Lauper told Vogue. “A woman who is older doesn’t have to look like a grandmamma”.
Lauper says the secret to pulling off an elegant, but not overly conservative look is scaling back makeup. “Too much makeup will make you look older,” she contends. What if the desired look just doesn’t seem to be working? Lauper says to simply do what she does – add a hat. “A hat is always glamorous,” she says.
But whether she’s wearing her performing hat, her songwriting hat, her activism hat, or her fashion hat, all of Cyndi Lauper’s messages appear to wear well. Her parting words at the last concert of hers that I attended, were “Take care of each other in this world,” she said. “We’re all we’ve got to save it – ya know?”
How has your idea of fun changed over the years? Are there still things you do now for fun that you did in your 20s and 30s? What new things would you suggest can create fun in our more mature years? Please join the conversation.
Dave Price is a retired journalist and educator now establishing a freelance writing/speaking/consulting practice in Atlanta. He’s specializing in writing about the Baby Boom generation, classic rock, aging, and grandparenting. In between touring around the Georgia area with his wife of 43 years, playing with his grandkids, dining on great Southern food, and napping, he’s writing long-form articles and publishing a few blogs which could lead to a series of nonfiction books. Please visit Dave’s author page and follow him on Facebook and Twitter.