John Lennon Left Out Yoko Ono as Co-Writer of ‘Imagine’ Because He Was ‘Selfish’

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I’m sure you’ve heard “Imagine” by John Lennon a million times by now. It’s a song that encompassed the sentiment of generations as it conveys a message of universal peace.

Earlier, the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA) gave it the Centennial Song Award. Artist Yoko Ono accepted the award on behalf of her late husband. But to her surprise, she was also recognized as the co-writer of “Imagine”—46 years after the song first came out.

According to Vogue, NMPA president and CEO David Israelite showed an old BBC clip of John, saying that it “should be credited as a Lennon-Ono song.”

“…a lot of it, the lyric, and the concept, came from Yoko. Those days, I was a bit more selfish, a bit more macho, and I sort of omitted to mention her contribution. But it was right out of Grapefruit, her book,” John said. So, all this time Yoko was deprived of the credit she deserved for almost 50 years.

This is just one of many incidents wherein a man took credit for a woman’s work. Mother Jones noted that this kind of behavior can be traced from as early as the Paleolithic era. According to archaeologist Dean Snow, the cave drawings usually attributed to male hunters were most likely done by women.

It’s the same case with notable scientists like Rosalind Elsie Franklin, Chien-Shiung Wu, and Jocelyn Bell Burnell. All of them were excluded in awards, and their male colleagues were given accolades for their discoveries.

During last year’s Olympics, media outlets reduced female athletes and highlighted who their male partners were. It was like we’re supposed to thank the men for having such talent and women are just mere afterthoughts.

We can go on and on about the women who were unfairly uncredited for their work, but it would obviously take us the whole day (even two or three). However, this is an issue that we’ll continue to face as long as sexism exists.

Why does this even happen in the first place? Economist Justin Wolfers wrote on New York Times that it’s simply blamed on gender stereotypes. He used the world of economics as an example, “Close your eyes for a moment, and picture an economist. Odds are you pictured a man.”

Likewise, What Works for Women at Work co-author Prof. Joan C. Williams told Mashable that women are often overlooked because they are associated with confirmation bias, otherwise known as being motivated by wishful thinking. The site added, “If a woman wants to call out this behavior, she takes the risk of appearing shrill or petty.”

Still, every woman deserves recognition as much as the next person does. We are not “petty” when call out that we’re uncredited, we are speaking out for our rights to be rewarded for our hard work. The last thing we want is for anyone, especially a man, to take that away from us just because they’re perceived as “the superior being.”

Credit where credit is due. And I hope to God that other incidents won’t take 46 years.

 

Photo courtesy of Consequence of Sound

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