Monday, August 9, 2010

Free to Be... You and Me

I am happy to see the new commercial from Target; they used the title track from the Emmy winning TV special Free to Be... You and Me. If your not familiar with Free to Be... You and Me, it is a project from the Ms. Foundation for Women, back in the in the 1970's. It was a collection of songs, stories, and poems that taught children to keep an open mind about stereotypes, tradition, sexuality, and individuality. Celebrities of the day made appearances in Free to Be... You and Me such as Marlo Thomas, a young Micheal Jackson, Mel Brooks, Diana Ross and others. Below are some video samples from the traditional TV Special.

Here is my twin sister's favorite the story of Atalanta; its co-narrated by Marlo Thomas and Alan Alda, and its the retelling of an ancient Greek legend speaking about the gender stereotypes of women and if they could be athletes or be unmarried.

My absolute favorite clip is the Boys Meets Girl, on the subject of sexuality, I remember laughing at how cute these puppets were when I was a little girl. But also understanding that boys could grow up to be what ever they wanted no matter what sex they were.

Here's Michael Jackson's appearance...Singing about how you don't have to change at all, and just be the person you are.

Here is the well known "William's Doll", based upon Charlotte Zolotow's story about a boy who wants a doll.

Target's angle for the commercial was to portray that a person could be an individual with their choice of colors and clothing. Its designed well, its very cute, and a smart way to speak to the once children of the 70's and 80's who are currently back to school shopping for their children today. Seeing this commercial with a tune from my childhood in a style of Wes Anderson, makes me extremely happy. And makes me love Target a little more.

If you're looking to find more about Free to Be... You and Me I recently I have found a book of the series, in Target last winter, and I have seen it in a play at a local artists school. There is also an album. See the foundation website at to get your book, album, or DVD copy direct.

One more note, I would love to see someone create a new set of stories speaking about the popular hates and discrimination of the world today, maybe talking about race, environment, greed, weight and other subjects. Anybody up the challenge?

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