In the fall of 1972, the ranks of the Michigan Marching Band (MMB) significantly changed just after the passage that summer of Title IX. Twelve women got their first opportunity to don an MMB uniform and join their male counterparts on the field, with instruments, flags, and batons firmly in hand. But what should have been a shining moment for these new female members was undercut by having to perform “The Stripper” during their first halftime show in the Big House. What’s more, the formation for the song was a woman’s hemline, rising higher and higher.
“It just felt like such poor taste,” remembers Lynn Hansen, ’75, MA’77, who played tenor sax and was the section leader in the MMB that year. “I remember most of us women not feeling very swell about that. But there was this thinking, ‘Don’t make waves. We’ve got to make this work. We can’t be whiners.’”
U-M had officially struck down the MMB’s male-only policy a year earlier in 1971. However, nearly all Big Ten marching bands held firm to their no-female tradition until Title IX, passed 45 years ago this summer, banned sexual discrimination in federally funded education. READ THE REST HERE
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The expanded version of this story appeared later in the U-M Band Alumni Association newsletter, The M Fanfare. You can check that out here: https://www.umbaa.org/members/m-fanfares/m-fanfare-2017-homecoming-volume-70-issue-2/banding-together-authors-edition