Happy Birthday To Bette Midler, Our Hero And Everything We Wish We Could Be

Bette Midler doesn’t know it, but she’s basically my second mom. I have worshipped her since childhood, watching her movies on repeat, and when I was seven, my parents even took me to go see her in concert. To this day, I have never been to a better concert, and I have been to a lot. “For The Boys” was the first R-Rated film I was allowed to watch, and by the way, it is currently on Netflix and you should go watch it.

Here in the feminist blogosphere, we talk a lot about the way the media and culture children consume can affect them. Bette Midler was my primary celebrity role model growing up, and I think that this was an incredible force for good in my life. I didn’t want to be a goddamned princess, I wanted to be a smart ass, funny woman who didn’t take shit from anyone. I wasn’t nearly as busy worrying about how I looked as I was with perfecting my rendition of “I’ve Got My Health.” That mattered. A lot.

Today is her 70th birthday, and I am here to celebrate the hell out of her. Here are some of my favorite Bette moments from over the years. At least the ones I can find on YouTube.

I love this so much. Although I’m just gonna put it out there that I would very much love to hear Bette sing Hard Hearted Hannah all the way through, as it is my all time favorite song and I am sad that this is not a thing that exists in my life.

I love, love, love Big Business. Also I want that suit.

As far as I am concerned, there is nothing better than Bette Midler and Darlene Love doing a duet of “He’s A Rebel.” It’s basically everything I could ever hope for and more. Although I will say I was equally ecstatic to discover that Bette’s song “Yellow Beach Umbrella” was written by another hero of mine, Judy Henske. It is a small and beautiful world.

Bette Midler actually got her start doing concerts in gay bathhouses, with her pianist, Barry Manilow, leading to the glorious nickname “Bathhouse Bette.”

This “Beaches” moment forever.

Now, I loooooooove Rosalind Russell. I love Ethel Merman and I love Angela Lansbury. But no one, no one ever did “Rose’s Turn” like Bette. It’s incomparable. She was a perfect Mama Rose.

GET OUT YOUR KLEENEX.

Anyway, happy birthday Bette. You are the wind beneath my wings.