This blog is in response to the awesome-ness that is Fair and Feminist, someone you should follow on Twitter (@fairandfeminist) and on the blog (http://fairandfeminist.com/)
I am a 41-year-old “young feminist”. I am “young” to feminism in the way that I am using the word, feminist/feminism, more often in my everyday speak, my art making, and my career choice. I am not young to the belief in feminism and how it has impacted my life but I am young in a sense that I have found my voice much later in life.
Coming to this realization consciously, I decided to use this opportunity to share with others how I believe music and more specifically women in music was a stand in for my voice at an early age.
I was given a copy of “The Runaways”, the movie, for my birthday. As I watched a young Joan Jett and Cherie Currie kick, scream, shout, and sing their way to history, I was reminded why I fell in love with women in music. Music has been a part of my life, living as an open diary, a fantasy lover, a celebration of life, and a loyal friend I can call on at 3am.
I grew up with a small portable transistor radio, when all the hot top 40 stations were on AM radio, an eight track portable player, and a console TV with a five channel tuning knob in which I was the remote control, turning the dial till my Mom told me to stop. These were my resources to take me far away from my life in a small town (population 2,000) in Texas.
From Tanya Tucker (8-track Country) to Pat Benatar (Rock-n-Roll cassettes and MTV) I found myself learning the in’s and out’s of love in a rough and tumble type of “kiss me, but don’t think you can have me” attitude. As I look back now, I think I had many “click” moments of when I knew I was a feminist; I just kept them hidden inside.
The music was loud and blasting out of my room every chance I had. When I was old enough to drive, legally, I was always conscious of having a radio that worked. Radio was my salvation!
With every beat of the drum and grind of a guitar string or a sultry ballad, validating itself over and over, again and again, I knew that I could be and do anything I wanted. I was never told I was living in a feminist world at the price of other women that had come before me. I only knew that the women that were raising me were powerfully determined.
So, who were the women in my early life still speaking the words I wished I could, making me get out of my chair to grab my hairbrush to sing out loud and giving me the words to speak my truth? Here’s a list of just a few that come to mind as I reminisce my feminist music play list of my life. Cheers to all the women in music that remind us of our youth, our power and our passion for feminism.
Roberta Flack (my first 45 record), Donna Summer, Linda Ronstadt, Emmylou Harris, Tanya Tucker, Janis Joplin, Stevie Nicks (Fleetwood Mac/Solo), Dolly Parton, Grace Slick (Jefferson Airplane), Dusty Springfield, Karen Carpenter, Chrissie Hynde (The Pretenders), Suzie Quatro, Debby Harry (Blondie), Heart (Ann & Nancy Wilson), Patty Smith, Pat Benatar, Joan Jett (Runaways/Solo), Lita Ford (Runaways/Solo), Madonna, Annie Lennox, Tina Turner, Cyndi Lauper, Tracy Chapman, Melissa Etheridge, Stevie Nicks, Go Go’s, Aimee Mann (Till Tuesday), Bonnie Tyler, Cher
Link to listen to a few artists listed above: