Monday, August 2, 2010

Feminist; Rockist

Before I started this blog, I read a glut of books on rock history or rock criticism, mostly those written from a feminist angle. One of the books I picked up was Maria Raha's Cinderella's Big Score, which focuses on women in the punk and indie scene from the 70s through the 2000s. Instead of writing a review of my own, I'll just point you to Alyx's, which is much better than anything I could write anyway. This especially rang true:

"Raha is very much of the “indie rock, good; pop, bad” persuasion and does little to challenge her biases or problematize the book’s subjects. As many of the rock artists she holds in high esteem are white women and many of the pop artists she dislikes are women of color, this creates an unintentional yet unfortunate gendered racial tension.

I think about this a lot. When I co-teach music history workshops with Kristen at Act Your Age, we notice that the reception of certain musical subgenres is divided along racial lines. Participants of color tend to get excited about hip hop, R&B, and pop and check out during discussions of punk and riot grrrl. It might be that riot grrrl means a great deal to white girls and white women, but doesn’t speak to many girls and women of color.

(Note: This isn’t to say girls and women of color can’t relate to or be inspired by riot grrrl; I just wonder how many do.)"

I think this says a lot about the recent deluge of 90s "girl-culture" books and blogs focusing on riot grrrl and indie culture (see below). It almost actively shut people out (through the media blackout and the general cliquishness), and that was a huge turn-off.

I do want to add that one thing Cinderella's Big Score did well was include a handful of queer bands that probably wouldn't make it into the great book of rock.

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