Monthly Archives: February 2013

Women and Music: Why Their Unity Matters

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It was summertime and I was still in love with someone who wasn’t in love with me, and I was mad. I rolled my windows down, turned the volume up and belted out Joan Jett’s break-up masterpiece {insert exclamation points and steering wheel slapping EVERYWHERE}.

“I hate myself for loving you

Can’t break free from the things that you do

I wanna walk but I run back to you

I hate myself for loving you”

***

The Crystal Ballroom in Portland, OR vibrated with Colbie Caillat’s catchy songs, and my sister and I covertly snapped pictures of a tall man and a short, dowdy looking woman.

“It starts in my toes

And I crinkle my nose

Wherever it goes

I always know

That you make me smile

Please stay for a while now

Just take your time

Wherever you go”

The tall man was married to a beautiful friend of mine, but the tall man was kissing the short, dowdy woman. My friend wasn’t at the concert; she was at a recovery group trying to work on putting her marriage back together. Once I reached my friend to tell her what I was witnessing, I had her permission to confront him.

To the sounds of acoustic pop, sung by a Southern California beauty, I got in the face of a cheater who would never cry a genuine alibi; photos don’t lie. He and his honey hit the streets of Burnside, and I watched my beautiful girlfriend hit the bottom of all bottoms.

***

I pulled into the Laundromat; my backseat strewn with damp towels and jeans. Boxers and bras embroiled in a mix of hoodies and socks. Carrie Underwood streaming through my stereo; Before He Cheats had recently crashed the radio waves.

‘Cause I dug my key into the side

Of his pretty little souped up 4 wheel drive,

Carved my name into his leather seats…

I took a Louisville slugger to both headlights,

Slashed a hole in all four tires

The song concluded, and after a brief phone call, so did my happily ever after. The bleach blonde tramp from Carrie’s hit song was suddenly real in my life; she had just confessed everything to me. My husband was a cheater. I never washed his laundry that was in the backseat of my car; I put it in garbage bags.

***

Music is powerful, and it hasn’t always been easy for women to share in the beauty of making music. If you look back through history, you’ll notice that there were times when the female presence was sparse; no one was listening, no one was paying attention. Those who stuck around to make music, whether or not other men and women believed in them, paved the way for more accessible engagement in the Arts.  The strength of these artists provided narration of many memories, such as the ones shared here. Music has benefited from feminism, and I have benefited from the unity between the two.

When I speak of “feminist music” this is what I mean: music that furthers the dialogue of moral, social and spiritual issues as they relate to women. In essence, every woman who raises her voice in song contributes to our understanding of women; their values, their pain and their joy.

Joan Jett, discussing her all female band that shook the rock music world said, “We didn’t have to do anything to freak people out. We just had to show up.”

I love that quote and though I am not a musician, I’m showing up for women in my own way. That’s why I’m participating in this series. I believe in the continued dialogue of moral, social and spiritual issues as they relate to women; this is why feminism matters to me.

Although I’m not loud or radical or politically liberal, and sometimes I tentatively wear the feminist badge; I’m going to show up for women. I’m going to keep listening to stories, and speaking words of empowerment. I’m going to bare my soul, though it may be misunderstood or criticized, because that’s what female artists have been doing for years, and if they haven’t stopped adding to music then I see no reason why I should neglect adding to the conversation.

Readers, let’s honor female musicians! Who has made an impact on you? What songs have been the soundtracks to memories in your life?

 

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“Runaway Protestant” series has been interrupted, but will return next Wednesday! Today’s post is part of the synchroblog discussion, Feminisms Fest.