This song has been stuck in my head for a few days now. I just pulled up the video and watching it threw me right back to the eighties just like THAT. Night Tracks and Night Flight. Videobonanza. I remember liking this video too, even though it was years before I had a low paying, no respect job or ever spent a day that left me feeling remotely like the woman in it (and I do mean remotely, I’ve never worked three working class jobs at once, what an unending nightmare, how do people do it? Seriously).
I looked up the story behind the song and it turns out Donna Summer wrote it about a bathroom attendant she came upon who had fallen asleep in the corner. When Summer woke her the woman explained that she worked two jobs and she was tired. Summer couldn’t get her out of her head and that’s where the song came from. Though the protagonist in the video is played by a white woman, the woman that actually inspired the song was not. We know that because Summer put that woman, Onetta, on the back of the album inspired by her. I’m bummed that the woman playing the protagonist in the video is white. I’m sure the record company made the woman white so “we” could all identify with her, which just sucks. Especially since black and latina women are twice as likely to live in poverty as white women.
Though maybe it was asking a bit much for “us” to identify with a black woman when it seems “we” can’t identify with women as a whole. Did you know that 49% of the people making minimum wage are adult women? 28% are adult men and the rest are teenagers. There’s a lot of women out there working hard for their money, and “we” sure as heck do NOT treat them right.
We’ll never find a better anthem, though. I love you, Donna Summer!