Pop WomenDecember 19th, 2009 at 20:21
One of the cool things I will remember about the blogosphere in 2009 was the amazing response to the TripleJ Hottest 100 of all time, as people across Australia responded to the gaping (and for many of us, quite shocking) lack of female representation in that list by celebrating women’s music. The conversation that spanned across so many blogs and Twitter accounts was layered and fascinating, and went a long way to making up for some of the more jawdropping kneejerk reactions/excuses for so many people not voting in female artists (women’s voices are higher… men are more likely to write/perform those epic songs…)
An uncomfortable theme that was raised in various circles was that women’s art is still seen as less, and that when forced to think about it, people can come up with a long list of justifications why this is so, because ‘actually I’ve been socialised to think that male=better/stronger/wiser’ is often a hard thing to admit, let alone come to terms with. One list that did have a substantial proportion of women was the “songs I am embarrassed to admit I like.”
Which brings me to Amanda Palmer, singing a song about Lady Gaga and herself and Madonna, apparently the final act of an ongoing debate with Neil Gaiman. It seems to belong to that conversation from several months ago – or maybe it’s the beginning of a new conversation. In any case, it’s a very cool song, not least because of the circumstances under which it was created. If you’re not already following Amanda’s blog (her posts are, this one notwithstanding, loooong and hard to navigate at times), she is definitely an artist to watch for the ways in which she experiments with form, social media and the changing face of technology and the internet. She’s basically the rock chick version of Cory Doctorow (ha, okay, someone has to get those two on a stage together if it hasn’t already happened), and its her willingness to throw herself, unrehearsed, into her art; her willingness to get messy, screw up & show her knickers (both metaphorically and literally) in various public forums that make her such a compelling figure.
I love the fact that Neil and Amanda have basically become the Posh and Becks of the lit/rock music world.