There’s a scene in The First Wives Club when Goldie Hawn, Diane Keaton, and Bette Midler finally achieve power over their scummy husbands. They pep up in delight over them and launch into a montage of righting wrongs and building themselves up. The scene becomes a classic montage set to the soulful and extremely eighties song “Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves.” So what’s the story behind that song? It’s actually a powerhouse duet between Aretha Franklin and Annie Lenox.
“Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves” was released in 1985, nearly ten years before the film that employed it to great effect came out. According to Wikipedia, the song was originally intended to be between Tina Turner and Aretha but ended up being Lenox due to scheduling conflicts. It’s also not technically a duet but a Eurythmics song, which is funny considering there’s a dude in that group.
Obviously this song is great because it’s a cheese doodle of a relic in the canon of feminist history. It’s the type of media produced at the altar of girl power that is so over the top and silly that it becomes an irresistible thing of beauty. It’s so literal and on the nose of what “doing it for yourself” is that it demands a smile and laugh, both with and at it. The song also shows off how soulful, dynamic, and versatile Lennox is. Duh. Equally as duh: Aretha’s voice and her fabulously WTF costumes in the video.