While everyone’s experience of oppression is different and complicated and often overlapping, I really believe that if you have privilege, you need to learn as much as you can about the world beyond yourself.
Name Of Woman, Fantastic In Her Own Right & More Than Some Person She Dated Once. That’s the dream for us when it comes to reading music press, isn’t it? If not, it should be.
As I’ve been writing and exploring some of my favorite artists for our Induct These Women series, it’s become grossly apparent to just how much opinion of a woman can hinge on a man.
I’d like to say I can see why people could have a problem with me saying this. I can’t. The existence of women outside of being a wife, or mother, for the most part, is overlooked. We’re often branded as “crazy,” as “a bit off-the-rails,” and as the last couple of months at the gym have taught me, a variety of holes to insert things into.
We are VCRs. And offstage electronic equipment does not fight back.
Well, I’m a bit sick of it. I’ve always been sick of it and I am angry. The responses to Ghostbusters and Star Wars weren’t in the least bit a surprise, and that dealt the harshest blow. But it’s in music that this inequality hits the hardest.
I am angry that opinions on Courtney Love’s musicianship hinges on the past. On“that guy.” Opinions on their personal lives overrule the fact Courtney has been in the business for 30 years and has inspired thousands of girls. “Why don’t you like Courtney?” I ask. “Because she…” They deliver an opinion that has nothing to do with her music, but with a man she happened to love.
Deities are extrinsic. Remember that.
I am angry that mentions of Yoko Ono are tinged by the lurking shadow of “that guy.” A man who, in his private life, had a streak in him that was dire; a direness gets pushed to the wayside because the open conversation of Yoko’s “sanity” makes for better reading than his tendency for domestic violence and adultery. “She broke up the Beatles!” they say. “She screams like a crazy person!”
If you judge women, let yourself to be judged in return.
I am angry that Marianne Faithfull is still being asked questions about a love affair that ended 50 years ago. I’m angry that “that guy” and his friend rolled away from an incident that violated her privacy with a pat on the back and a “That’s so rockstar!” What makes it rockstar? Why wasn’t it rockstar for her? Why was she left to be resorted to as “that girl” when what she is, is a songwriter, and an integral part of the British music scene?
n. a rock-n-roll star
I am angry that Ke$ha can’t be mentioned without being linked to her abuser. I am tired of Lady Gaga, Diana Ross, Amy Winehouse, Lily Allen, Tammi Terrell and countless other women being talked about in relation to the men they worked or were involved with. I am exhausted by the fact Natalie Maines’ completely accurate and vital political commentary ripped the Chicks from our airwaves. I am livid any of this matters when a lot of “those guys” have so many notches in their bed posts it spells out their names.
So yeah, I’m a bit angry. Always was. Bit more so now trawling the internet for photographs of my heroes half the time ends up with results of them hip-to-hip with “those guys,” but always was.
See, it’s not that men aren’t deserving. That isn’t what I’m saying. I’m not saying they’re overrated or untalented, or that their label of genius they’ve been given is void of meaning. I’m not even saying it’s their fault. Masculinity can be toxic because of its privilege. It’s a press-invented hierarchy, but this isn’t their narrative. This narrative is one that leads to women in music needing to be rated on their talent; for their creative genius to be noted. I’m saying we don’t get our dues.
It’s that men can drive a car into a pool and it’s rock ‘n roll. A woman battles an addiction and she’s ripped to shreds. An album performs poorly and, suddenly, her career is alleged to be “over.” She makes a mistake and she’s known as “that girl,” while her male counterparts get to be idolized for it. Why aren’t we taking every artist on face value for their accomplishments?
I’m just fond of music, (wo)man. I will give any artist dues in an industry as notoriously hard to break into as this for the art that they create. It’s about time that became global. If I like your music, I don’t give a damn what’s between your legs. It’d be wicked if it was a Crosley turntable but I’m not gonna judge.
We are TALENTED.
We are STRONG.
We are ANGRY.
And you know what?
We get to be.
Because we’re people.