In this lesson, students will evaluate what the emergence of the Girl Groups says about the roles of girls and women in the early 1960s, as the nation sat on the threshold of a new Women’s Rights movement that would challenge traditional female roles. In 1963, Betty Friedan published The Feminine Mystique, widely considered a milestone in the emerging feminist movement – and it came at the peak of the Girl Groups’ popularity. Did the success of the Girl Groups signal a new female empowerment, under which girls and women could finally come out from the shadows of Rock and Roll and tell the world what was on their minds? Or did the very labels “Girl Group” and “girl singer” and the focus of so many of their songs on the search for the ideal man simply reflect the traditional domestic roles of women as wives and mothers?
Instructors can utilize the materials in this lesson in a variety of ways. It is written in the form of a Structured Academic Controversy (SAC), a teaching strategy similar to debate that focuses on students building consensus rather than on identifying a “winner” who has developed the more convincing argument. However, the instructor may easily use the materials in a more traditional debate format, or simply as the basis for a general class discussion.