Cheese. (popehippo) wrote in ontd_political,
Cheese.
popehippo
ontd_political

What happened to angry female music stars?

Joan Jett is remembering a time long ago, before women were ruling the charts as well as gig venues, when women in rock were as angry as hell. "Anger for women in music, for me, stemmed from the fucking principle. It was about being told that a girl couldn't play guitar when you're sitting in school next to girls playing violin and cello and Beethoven and Bach. The anger came from not been given a chance, from being told to shut up and sit down and act like a lady." Jett laughs, the rasp in her voice heavy with passion and grit. "Once you start throwing that kind of shit around, it's war!"

Joan Jett's memories of making rock music with the Runaways, the five-piece female rock group from the mid-1970s, should read like a page from a history book. But it actually sounds old-fashioned for a very different reason – because women in rock are rarely angry any more. It wasn't always this way. After the Runaways, a rush of punk performers – including Siouxsie Sioux and X-Ray Spex's Poly Styrene (who mocked people who thought "little girls should be seen and not heard") – and then later the riot grrrl groups of the early 1990s showcased women who offered empowering messages as they pummelled their guitar strings. Twenty years later, the charts are full of female musicians, so maybe their predecessors genuinely opened doors, and also broke down prejudices. But look behind the charts. Look, say, to the media. Look at Q magazine, for example, which still treats "women in rock" as a genre all of its own, and only featured three women on its cover in the last year, all in states of undress (Lady Gaga, Cheryl Cole and Lily Allen). Have women yet been accepted in rock music on their own terms?

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Tags: feminism, media, music
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