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Women’s History Month: Yoko Ono

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The 1960s were an influential time in American history. From the music to the activism, the impact it left on society is still seen today. Though many of the figures from that time are long gone, many are still thriving and continuing their missions. One specific woman who made an impact on pop culture, music, and activism is Yoko Ono.

Born in Japan but later relocated to New York, Ono was influenced by many factors of her childhood. She grew up during WWII and struggled to survive with her family as most of the Japanese countryside suffered from air raids. They stole, borrowed, and bartered to survive. This would eventually become a large statement in Ono’s anti-war stance. After the war, Ono and her family moved back to York where she was influenced by the artistic scene and music there. Ono studied at Sarah Lawrence College and grew as an artist, studying poetry and English literature.

Ono’s interest in the arts eventually led her to the Beatles. Ono met Paul McCartney and was introduced to John Lennon, whom she ended up marrying. During this time period, the Vietnam War was going on. Ono and Lennon were prominent activists and would host Bed-Ins, which were anti-war protests from their hotel rooms at the time. 

According to Brittanica, Ono was also close with many activists and spoke of her experiences as an Asian-American woman. The backlash from Beatles fans and the media was strong for Ono. On an episode of The Mike Douglas Show, Ono talked about the evils of racism and misogyny and how she had experienced it by fans of the Beatles, especially in the U.K. This brought a lot of attention to the fan base and the behaviors shown towards women around the world that weren’t Caucasian.

Her activism and singing has continued with her website, Imagine Peace, which memorialized her husband’s hit song “Imagine,” a song asking the world to imagine what it would be like if we all came together as one. She continues to protest against the hot topics of each era such as the Iraq War and involvement, nuclear weapons, hydraulic fracturing, and many more. Ono has also professed her support for same-sex marriage with her song, “Everyman…Everywoman.” 

Ono is an inspiration to many activists and women around the world. Her strength and perseverance is admirable and symbolizes what Women’s History Month is really about. 

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