Barbra Streisand and Her Contribution to Feminism

I live for the moments that make me realize how the good things of the past are not that far gone. One such thing that gives me that feeling is watching videos of Barbra Streisand and Judy Garland performing “Happy Days Are Here Again.” The song became popular during the 1930s, also making Garland famous.

Garland died shortly after this performance, but Streisand is still with us at 80 years old. She regularly revisits her memories, letting us cherish her talent with her. That said, Streisand’s life is about more than singing, which is considered her primary occupation. 

I believe Barbara Streisand is an icon who has contributed a lot to feminism. Continue reading this piece to learn about the ever-luxurious queen’s contributions to feminism.

Barbra Streisand and Feminism

Nearly every Barbra Streisand film opens with a scene in which someone—typically a man—tells us what is wrong with her character.  “The fact is, ’she’s impossible to talk to,” “Can you not leave your soapbox at home just once?”, “You’re insane!” and “If a girl is not pretty, like a Miss Atlantic City, all she gets in life is a pity” are some examples. 

In other words, she is not anyone’s ideal woman. Not initially, at least. The performer and cultural star must repeatedly establish her worth. She is not insane, a murderer, a castrating shrew with no sense of humor, or anything else that might prevent her from receiving the justice she deserves.

Streisand’s struggle is why many people love her, including me. As noted by biographer Neal Gabler, Streisand’s supporters value her not because she represents an impossibly high ideal but rather because we relate to her: She did not have a movie star’s appearance. She was just like us in appearance, speech, behavior, and suffering. Although her voice is unmistakable, her reputation as the spunky, determined underdog appears even more crucial to her appeal to a devoted fan following.

You do not need to be an expert on Streisand to recognize the similarities between the performer from Brooklyn and her persona. Aside from their talent, heritage, and distinguishing facial traits, both women are outspoken, unyielding dynamos, which early detractors found noteworthy.

Some actors become their characters; Streisand’s characters become her reputation. In most of her films, she starts singing or raising her voice within the first few minutes of her appearance. Her large, blue eyes with prominent creases and pursed lips radiate intensity whether she is portraying a singer, a psychotherapist, or a call woman. She was not the woman to talk softly about preserving her life. Good for her! What a role model she truly is. 

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