where the women are

3 Jun

As someone who’s writing a PhD about a distinctly male-dominated field, I am constantly aware of the fact that women are, if not utterly underrepresented, then certainly overlooked in the majority of mass media. I think this is why I was rather delighted to see Dorian Lynskey explain the poor representation of women in his new book 33 Revolutions per Minute: A History of Protest Songs.

It’s a very thoughtful article and largely an articulate explanation. I do think he contradicts himself to a certain extent by stating

If you were to draw up a list of the most influential 20th century world leaders, a minority of women would be an accurate reflection of the reality, but if you overwhelmingly favoured men in a tally of key 19th century novelists then you’d be doing something wrong.

After all, it wasn’t until the feminist movement began searching for female voices in 19th century literature that women writers were actively added to the canon and became revered. I think the same really can be said of women in pop culture in the 20th century (and once we stop thinking ‘feminist’ is a dirty word, we’ll start advocating them, too).

Nonetheless, Lynskey offers a particularly well-observed reflection on the backlash against female artists who dare take a stand on political issues and provides a fantastic selection of some of music’s most vocal feminists. In this way, Lynskey helps to remind us that the only way we’ll ever see change is to make choices that promote change — even if the choice in question is to spend our money on strong women fighting against the double standards of patriarchy for true equality.

Cross-posted with my other blog — Quelle Erqsome tends to be more political than we usually get here, but I thought this article was so interesting and the message so worth telling that I wanted to post it here, too. Plus, I don’t know that Lou’s partner would have seen it otherwise and Lynskey brings up a LOT of great music.


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