Thursday, May 21, 2009

Third Wave Feminism

Ladies, do you consider yourselves Feminist?

I used to struggle with this label, but not so much anymore. I'm not a bra burner (that would be bad for my physical health, I LOVE a good fitting bra!) and I don't "pound the pavement" crusading for any kind of feminist causes. But I do have a strong belief that men and women (straight, gay and transgendered) are all entitled to equal treatment in society and under the law.

Some folks seem to think the label Feminist means "man hater" or "demands special treatment for women" and I can understand why they get that impression. It is very difficult to introduce new ideas to a hostile culture, and feminists throughout history have been branded as "radicals" and "troublemakers." It is a shame that women sometimes have to yell to be heard over the din of the status quo, but I am eternally grateful to those women who came before me and yelled till they were hoarse. That said, I don't think the time for yelling is quite over yet, even though we as a generation of women are reaping the benefits of the First and Second wavers and it may not feel like we have it so bad that we need to organize.

What do you think? Is it important that women self-identify as feminists, or do you think the time for that is past? Do you think women and men are inherently different and feminism is a misguided concept? Why are you or are you not a Feminist?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Poetry vs. Music = Lyrics

These are two of the things I love most on earth -- music and poetry. They have made me into the woman I am and I shudder to think where I would be without them.

First, some background...

Creative writing classes in high school and college helped me blossom creatively and find out more about my identity. They taught me how to think critically about a piece of literature/composition and draw meaning out that applies to normal life.

Then, came along rock 'n' roll. Strutting his stuff in a hot, leather jacket and tight, torn blue jeans. I was drooling on the floor after the first song.

I lost my shit when the mid-90s Riot Grrl whatever era exploded with bands like Bikini Kill, Bratmobile, Babes in Toyland, Liz Phair, Hole, L7, Seven Year Bitch and so many more. Their aggressive, angry music did something to me when I was a teenager. Not that some of them were the best musicians or singers, but their guts and willingness to put themselves out there grabbed hold of me. I was angry about not fitting in at my dumb high school and hearing nasty rumors about myself that were never true. I was angry about my parents making me go to a church where I felt like an outcast. While my plight could have been much MUCH worse, music and poetry helped me surive. Prom queens and cheerleaders were dating dopey boys and plastering their faces with make-up while I filled journal after journal in my room, played in marching/concert band and listened to CDs by rock bands five people at my high school had heard of. Despite the church torture, my folks got me my first Peavey electric guitar when I was 13 and I started playing along to my rowdy rocker girl songs and dreaming big about being in a band. Eventually, college, live music, wild nights, playing open mics, playing gigs in a full band with flyers, meeting people with interests like me! Shit yes!

Since this love affair with rock 'n' roll has begun, poetry has taken a back seat and he doesn't get much action back there. I did a few readings of my poetry at various open mics and gatherings during college and this always felt like the most naked experience. No band, no guitar, no one else up there with me. Just me, my voice, my awkward words for the world to hear. Somtimes, I miss poetry intensely. I want to call him up and say "Baby, let's get back together like we used to be." But then, lyrics came on the scene and now I can't look back.

Writing lyrics and setting them to original music written with a band is about the best thing I have ever experienced. It is pure passion, sweet revenge, ultimate self-expression. I am one lucky bitch. Haha!