“That Girl” Marlo Thomas, author of the multi-generation “Free To Be, You And Me” a project of the Ms. Foundation for Women, was released in November 1972 featuring songs and stories sung or told by celebrities of the day (including Alan Alda, Rosey Grier, Cicely Tyson, Carol Channing, Michael Jackson, and Diana Ross. An ABC Afterschool Special using poetry, songs, and sketches, followed two years later in March 1974. The basic concept was to encourage post-1960’s gender neutrality, saluting values such as individuality, tolerance, and comfort with one’s identity.
But now sadly in 2010 Marlo Thomas has declared the concept she espoused nearly 40 years ago dead to children because of bullying
via The Huffington Post:
Just how many dead teenagers, driven to end their own lives, is it going to take for adults to stand up and say,What the hell is going on? There was a time when the words “Free to Be” embodied a hope that whatever a kid was, was good enough. But “freedom” doesn’t describe the world of this generation. Or of their parents.
For all the walls we thought we’d broken down with Free to Be — and all the stereotypes we thought we’d shattered — children today are not free to be anything they want to be, nor anything they are, and they are dying for it. And no beautiful lyric can fix that.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years about tackling problems, it’s that the first thing you need to do is spark the conversation. So let’s start talking about bullying. With our neighbors. With our friends and family. With fellow parents at PTA meetings. And with each other — right here. Let me hear what you think. It’s time to take bullying down.
In the meantime, if you’re worried that a child in your life might be a victim — or is, in fact, the bully — there are some helpful thoughts at such websites as stopbullying.gov. I’m sure there are countless other sites, and I’d like to know about those, as well. We don’t have the time — or any more kids’ lives — to waste
* Opening sequence of original Free To Be…You and Me TV special aired March 11th, 1974.