Well gee finally!
Considering most inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame have been (and continue to be) men, it is nice that the place is starting to recognize the contributions women have made and continue to make to music. Their new exhibit entitled “Women Who Rock: Vision, Passion, Power” will open on May 13, 2011.
You can check out some images from the exhibit here.
Despite the lack of (que Aretha) respect given to female artists, I hope this exhibit will be a permanent or constantly updating, featuring, and a changing part of the museum, and not just a token display. A permanent exhibit would really give women the props they deserve. If it’s not permanent, it continues the notion that “women who rock” aren’t really normal, that “women in rock” are just a fluke. So, now that we “honored” women, back to our regular man-rocker 24/7 coverage.
From what I can tell from the website, the display will feature women in music from the 1920s with artists like Bessie Smith to current rockers like Lady Gaga. The features will include outfits worn by these women (I hope that isn’t the bulk of the exhibit….seriously these women are musicians, not models!) handwritten song lyrics, videos, concert posters, instruments, ect. You can also record your own personal message in a recording both on how these women have shaped or impacted your life.
The exhibit will also kick off with a concert featuring the one and only Wanda Jackson and Cyndi Lauper. I am going to try my hardest to make this opening just to see those two on stage. What magic! What legends!
So, while I have some reservations as to if this exhibit will meet the standards of professional admiration, respect, and exposure for female artists that male artists receive, I am hopeful it will at least continue to remind people that women rock, and always have. While we don’t need a museum to validate our art, we will know we truly have gained what we deserve when they don’t have a special exhibit for “women who rock,” but when women are just a regular part of the museum.
Photo via The Runaways.
Check out the latest women in music news from the interwebs. These are just some of the articles that I have come across today. However! Do not fret! Look to your right, ——–> …… ok now scroll down a bit, and you will now see an RSS reader which lists articles featuring female musicians. Because so much news comes my way, I figured I would pull out 10 articles or so a week and post a blog entry, and the others you can read on the right hand side of your screen. The reader only lists the 20 most recent articles, so please check back frequently for the newest items. But, if you just can’t get enough women in music news, just click the little orange RSS icon next to “Latest News” and you can syndicate the news that I do! Awesome!
Norah Jones & Dolly Parton collaboration? Maybe! via Paste.
Susan Boyle’s album hits number 1 in the UK via Billboard.
Best Coast brings you a holiday tune ‘Got Something For You” for Target via Exclaim.
Wild Flag is going on tour with punk rock awesomeness via Pitchfork.
KT Tunstall is back and is releasing her third album “Tiger Suit” via NPR.
La Sera announce debut album filled with dreamy old-school pop tunes via Exclaim.
Look out! There maybe a Spices Girls musical in the future! There are not many details yet, except that it is tentatively titled “Viva Forever.” I am very intrigued about this idea.
I was waaaaay into the Spice Girls in highschool. I even sang with my other girlfriends in our highschool’s talent show. We sang “Two Become One.” I was “Baby Spice.” Ohhhh, now I get that song! Oo, we were edgy! But I had their album, posters, the movie, dressed up like “Scary Spice” for Halloween. I was sooooooo into it.
Now, just as many people are divided on whether The Spice Girls were positive role models for women and girls, as much as people debate if Madonna was/is or Lady Gaga. Granted, they are huge pop sensation, I think the biggest thing from Britain since the Beatles if I am correct. They dressed in crazy, glittery, animal printed outfits, sang about friendship and loving your mama, and looked like they had a blast doing it. Sure, their “Girl Power!” motto was a watered down version of the empowerment that started with Riot Grrrl. By the late 90s, strong, independent women were the “in” thing, and marketers and trendsters used it for all that it was worth. But I don’t think it’s fair to automatically dismiss them because some jerks in R&D figured out they could sell back women’s awesomeness and power via products. It’s like the Sleater-Kinney song “# 1 Must Have”, where the song lyrics go:
“But they took our ideas to their marketing stars
and now I’m spending all my days at girlpower.com
Trying to buy back a little piece of me”
The Spice Girls are rather tame when you compare them to current “Girl Groups” like the Pussycat Dolls. Even so, I think the Spice Girls were positive, and I’ll tell ya why.
1) They were sexy, fun, but I do not think “sexed” up. They were confident in their clothing and if you look at how they portray themselves in their videos and on stage, it is about sisterhood and letting go, not playing it up for the “male gaze.”
2) Their songs were about things that many girls my age at the time could relate to: not giving up yourself for a man, staying true to your friends, loving your family, hope, and being able to have fun without worrying about what other people thought.
3) Most importantly, the girls wrote their own material and dance routines. What more do you want? Seriously.
Sure, I know they are not like the Riot Grrrls, but not every artist is. I think they had their own flair and that is why I love them, and my feminist, @ss kicking Bikini Kill. I know there are problematic issues with much of mainstream music an how women are portrayed in it. But, I also think that we sometimes judge female artists so harshly, and to such a high standard, that not even Gloria Steinem screaming into a microphone, smashing a pink vagina shaped guitar, while burning her bra is enough to convince some people that female artists are not just tools. I love the fact that we can have such a variety of female musicians and styles that can touch and influence people in so many ways. We need to celebrate this diversity! As they say, “Spice Up Your Life!”
This one makes me cry every time: I love my mom!
Thanks to Grrrl Sounds for first posting about this news. Please visit her site as well and keep up with all your riot grrrl rock needs! Women in music need to stick together!
Kathleen Hanna, the famed Riot Grrrl (of Bikini Kill & later Le Tigre) who kicked off the movement in the early 90s (though she’s so modest and doesn’t want that title) donated a whole ton of her ‘zines, writings, and other material to the New York University Special Collections Library. They will be housed in the Fales Library Special Collections called The Riot Grrrl Collection to preserve this amazing movement combining feminism, music, and young women.
The library notes on their website why it is important: “Because Riot Grrrl was (and is) both a political and a cultural movement, its output was diverse, including writing, music, performance, film, activism, photography, video, and original art, as well as documentation of activism and performance. This research collection will provide primary resources for scholars who are interested in feminism, punk activism, queer theory, gender theory, DIY culture, and music history.”
I think that this is just great! I have been trying to get copies of Kathleen’ Hanna’s, as well as, other Riot Grrrls zines from eBay and such, with some success. I mean, since they were photocopyed, you can make more, but after a while, the copies of copies of copies get rather hard to read. I am so happy that Riot Grrrl and the movement is getting some credit from the academic side. I mean they have for a bit, some texts have been written about it, but preserving these documents ensures it will never be forgotten!
Another place that is trying to keep Riot Grrrl alive is the EMP (Experience Music Project) here in Seattle, WA.
I visited the EMP, and have looked at their collection online and it is not bad. Sad though, because in comparison to all the men featured in that museum, the Riot Grrrl collection was more like a whisper than a growl. When I was there, their Jimi Hendrix exhibit basically took up the entire museum. Ugh.