After her initial singles arrived with little to no success, Nancy Sinatra wasn’t expected to enjoy a career like her father Frank’s. Then at 26, Sinatra hit pay dirt in 1966 with the single “These Boots are Made for Walkin'”.Written by Lee Hazlewood, a successful country producer, “Boots” breathed life into Sinatra’s listless career. The song itself is simple and easy to understand, but its placement in time represented something larger.
In the 1960s, women around the country fought just as hard as blacks for equal rights and a better place in society.
This decade was a time for women to break free from the previously white male-centric society, and Sinatra’s single acts as an echo to this movement.
“You keep saying you got something for me,
Something you call love but confess,
You’ve been a’messin’ where you shouldn’t have been a’messin’,
And now someone else is getting all your best,
Well, these boots are made for walking, and that’s just what they’ll do,
One of these days these boots are gonna walk all over you.”
The narrator is fed up with her unfaithful, male significant other; nothing new here, but what is new is the way in which the woman responds. Instead of simply leaving, the woman prefers to fight back – refusing to be taken advantage of not just by a man, but also by the man.
Fast forward to summer of 2005. Dallas native Jessica Simpson, 25, has reached the top of the Billboard charts with her cover of “Boots”, featured on the soundtrack to “The Dukes of Hazzard”. And although she may have been bright enough to understand that boots were included in the song, she sure didn’t catch on to the meaning.
How does Simpson interpret “Boots”?
“You keep saying you’ve got something for me,
Officer don’t mind to say you do,
Now you’re looking about where I’d thought you’d be looking,
Legs come handy when the law’s in front of you,
These boots are made for walking, and that’s just what they’ll do,
One of these days these boots are going to walk all over you.”
Genius. So now we’ve got Simpson wearing boots and a pink bikini, washing a car to promote what was largely considered the worst movie of the summer.
Somehow Simpson managed to take an empowerment anthem and transform it into three poppy minutes of exploitation.
The trend of taking something old and repackaging it for a newer generation regardless of context isn’t a new concept – it’s just reached a new low.
Call me old-fashioned, but the meaning is just as important as the presentation itself.
John-Laurent Tronche is a senior news-editorial major from Fort Worth.