Free to Be...You and Me is a record album and illustrated book released in 1972 as a project of the Ms. Foundation. It features stories, poetry, songs, and sketches performed by celebrities of the day, all with the goal of fostering gender equality and the tolerance of differences.
Atalanta is a modified retelling of a Greek legend. In this version, Atalanta is a princess who wants to travel the world to learn. Her father decides she needs to marry and sets up a footrace to choose her husband, but she only agrees on the condition that she can run the race herself. On the day of the race, she is far ahead of the pack except for one local man named John, who crosses the finish line side by side with her. Her father offers John the prize of the marriage, but he refuses because he won't marry Atalanta if she doesn't want to marry him. The pair part as friends to travel the world.
Free to Be...You and Me was also made into a television special in 1974, and Atalanta was included with animation to illustrate the story. The special was successful in the ratings and ended up winning an Emmy Award.
Notes for Parents: This story is suitable for all ages, and provides an excellent starting point for discussions about the role of women and marriage in the past. Older girls can also explore the differences between this version and the original legend. While Atalanta is a strong female character, John also provides a good role model for children, since he isn't sure that he can win the race, but practices hard every day in order to be able to do so. The video is the animation from the 1974 special.
Lyrical Notes: None Video Notes: None