"The Beatles helped feminize the culture," Stark writes, in part because they usually "displayed a more sympathetic attitude to women in their songs than most other rock writers." In addition, the band "not only sounded and looked feminine because of their style and their hair; they were more feminine in their group dynamic." Key to this inadvertent revolution were the deaths of Lennon's and McCartney's mothers when each Beatle was still in his teens (the "Julia" and "Mother Mary" immortalized on the "White" and "Let It Be" albums, respectively). These deeply traumatic events had the effect, Stark argues, of repeatedly driving both composers toward strong women who shaped them at every turn: Mona Best, mother of early drummer Pete and provider of the band's first regular gigs, at the Casbah Club she founded in her basement; Astrid Kirchherr, the German ingénue who gave the boys their distinctive haircuts and pushed them in the direction of her own black-leather art house sophistication; and later, Yoko Ono and Linda Eastman, indomitable personalities who, at the close of the '60s, with Lennon and McCartney already drifting apart, "tended to spur their partners in opposite directions from one another, almost acting like lawyers in an ongoing dispute."
You need a hook to justify adding to the vast pile of Beatles writing, of course. But what do you think of this one?
Other discussion questions: Did the culture get feminized in the 1960s? Who did this feminizing -- men? If the Beatles only helped in this feminization, who else did the feminizing?
Bonus yes-or-no question to sort Althouse readers into two groups: Did you ever spend much time trying to figure out if the woman on the cover of "Bringing It All Back Home" was Dylan in drag? (Spending time now doesn't count, but feel free to do it.)