QUIZ: Is "Don’t Rain On My Parade" a Female Empowerment Song or Have You Heard It In Context?
by HaleyJane Rose. @haleyisfamous.
Funny Girl is back on Broadway! Whether you loved or hated this nostalgic romp, you can’t deny this musical is the feminist story we all need right now! Wait… right? Hold on. Did we see the same show?
Answer these questions to see if "Don't Rain On My Parade" is the empowering anthem you remember, or if you heard it in context of the show and are questioning everything you thought you knew about this musical theatre classic!
1. When Fanny says “Don't tell me not to live, just sit and putter. Life's candy and the sun's a ball of butter” she was telling her friends:
A. Not to hold back a talented, driven woman from chasing after her dreams.
B. To let her throw away her ambitions and leave a career-shifting tour that could see her rise to fame all for a weird gambler guy she met a few times, which was surprising to you, as someone who thought they knew what this song was about.
2. The lyrics “Don't tell me not to fly I've simply got to. If someone takes a spill It's me and not you” mean that our musical hero is:
A. Going to give it her all! She’s not going to let anyone tell her that she doesn’t have what it takes to go all the way to the top as an entertainer and comedian. And if it doesn’t work out, at least she went out with a bang!
B. Actually giving up on her dream job, leaving mid-tour, and inconveniencing a whole production of singers and dancers who probably didn’t have great benefits or an understudy system in place. Now the performers are scrambling and might not get paid this week, all while Fanny simultaneously makes it known that some guy in an ugly ruffled shirt who took her out to dinner a few times is more important than all the progress she made in an industry that’s particularly difficult to break through as a woman.
3. “I'm gonna live and live now. Get what I want, I know how. Eye on the target and wham. One shot, one gun shot, and bam!” Wow! These inspiring words mean that Fanny is going to:
A. Have her cake and eat it too! Dare to dream, baby. Take what you deserve!
B. Convince herself and all of the people who care for her that dropping everything and following a man - who let’s face it, probably isn’t all that serious about your relationship - halfway across the country to get married and live happily ever after, but then your husband, who seems intimidated by your ambition and independence, outwardly resents you for helping him financially. Then all of your friends and family, including your supportive mother, accuse you of being a suffocating hag, emasculating your husband by trying to keep him out of jail because he still hasn’t grown up and stopped scheming. You somehow get your glass-ceiling cracking career back even though you screwed over a lot of people in the industry by dipping out one random day, but are still like obsessssed with this guy all because of a hideous ruffled shirt.
IF YOU CHOSE MOSTLY A'S: Congratulations! You’ve probably only ever listened to this song or saw the movie once when you were very young and your brain filled in the details of what you believed the emotional crux of the song to be. Damn, this song rules.
IF YOU CHOSE MOSTLY B'S: You recently saw Funny Girl the musical and were surprised by what this show-stopping number is really spurred by. Sure, there’s nuance to Fanny being insecure underneath all of her bravado… because she’s… ugly? Because they say it about 1,000 times, but you don’t actually see it because it’s 2022 and individual beauty and body neutrality is a thing, and oh god, is this show not for a modern audience no matter how you spin it? Huh… oh well. Damn, this song rules.