I grew up in the seventies, and so as a kid I listened to "Free To Be You And Me." My mother had a subscription to Ms., because she asked us so politely if she could. I learned that it didn't matter what you were on the outside, if you were a good person on the inside. Rosey Grier not only taught me that it was alright for boys to cry, but he got me interested in needlepoint. While my stitches never matched those of the two-time Pro Bowl selection, my suspicion is that he taught that lesson abut crying to any number of opposing quarterbacks as well.
Boys can play with dolls, though in these oddly mixed-message times we refer to them as "action figures." Girls can play football, but we prefer that the do it in their underwear. Men can be spokesmodels on "The Price Is Right," and the Minnesota Vikings' punter can pose nude in the current issue of OUT Magazine. "To me, this fight is about equality and human rights," Chris Kluwe recently
told CNN. "The fact is, there are Americans who pay taxes and serve in
our military - who defend this country - who do not receive the same
legal protections as the rest of us. To me, that's flat-out
discrimination. That's the same as segregation or suffrage." It doesn't have the singalong quality of Rosey's, but it's a message whose time has come. Forty-some years after the first big wave.
We've still have a long way to go, since our most recent examples of equality seem to require them to take off their clothes, but I suppose we have Joe Namath to thank for that. Maybe the next generation can get this right.