host of a weekly radio show focusing solely on female musicians, I've noticed
a recurring question that has been repeatedly fired my way since the show started
"Why do you ONLY play female artists or female-fronted
"Why isn't a woman hosting a show like this?"
are you giving an entire hour to female performers?"
My only answer:
Well, there's a little bit more to it than that.
got interested in music when I was 8 years old, when my mother introduced me to
an "all-girl-band" called The Bangles.
Interesting term: "All
How we love to point out the fact that such-and-such a band
In fact, you probably can't find an article about
the Bangles that DOESN'T mention the fact that they are made up of four women.
to believe, isn't it? Four girls actually playing their own instruments, writing
their own songs and singing their own vocals!!! Truly incredible! A miracle really!
Go-Go's, The Donnas, Sleater-Kinney, the Supremes:
They are seen as women
first, then recognized as artists.
"She's not bad, for a girl."
isn't a band like Blur ever referred to as an "All Male Brit-pop group"
or Led Zepplin as an "All Male Rock Band"?
Deep down, we all know
the answer to this question. And it's really sad.
Personally, I never considered
ANY of the music I was listening to while growing up with sex or gender in mind.
Bangles were never the best "All Girl Group" I had ever heard up to
that point. They were simply "The Best Band" I had ever heard. Period.
was about the music, the harmonies, the catchiness -- the flat-out coolness of
seeing those four amazing people up on stage playing instruments and making noises
my eight-year-old ears had never heard.
After that, I began
listening to as many of my mother's records as I could find.
The Shangri-Las, The Crystals, The Shirelles, Joan Jett, Dolly Parton, Cass Elliot,
When I got older I discovered my own.
I was lucky to grow
up surrounded by other music lovers who viewed these performers as ARTISTS first
Before their looks. Before their cup size. Before their sex
or gender. They just rocked. The fact that they were women never came up.
was just music for music's sake.
They were not "as good as"
the "Bests." They WERE and ARE the "Bests."It was never an
issue until I grew up and started to realize that if the majority of your favorite
music was female fronted you were made fun of.
People didn't like it. People
snubbed it as "stupid" or "ridiculous." People were angry
for some fucked up reason.
And I was introduced to the wonderful world of
So all my favorite musicians just happened to be female. Does that
sound like a big deal? Of course not.
But it was.
from the e-mails and phone calls my show STILL GETS to this day
it apparently, still is.
So Groovie my show is a double bind.
My show is dedicated
to women who rock and people who love them.
But in focusing solely on
women, I must wonder am I also reinforcing a sexist idea by treating "women-in-music"
as its own genre? As a style? As a trend?
Am I just another slice of media
recognizing these people for being women, before recognizing them as artists?
only vision in doing this show is to present a tiny fraction of a much bigger
exploration of the hundreds of thousands of millions of roles women have played
in the history, development and establishment of the music industry and
to celebrate them.
The genders, sexual orientations, styles and degrees of
feminism vary on Girlie So Groovie as much as the genres of music I play during
my hour slot.
The ONE common thread connecting these amazing and incredible
artists is NOT the fact that they were born with vaginas.
It's the experience
each has faced working and triumphing and creating and failing and inspiring
and making waves and creating their own impact in a male-dominated industry.
will probably be a day when the idea of a show dedicated solely to women will
not be needed, because we'll all be One.
It will be People In Rock. Not men.
Just artists, the way it should be.
Rather than bitch about that
day STILL not being here - all we can do is celebrate the noises women are making
and push those noises into the male norm of society until the foundation cracks,
and inevitably explodes.
When that day comes we can FINALLY start enjoying
Groovie airs Mondays 7 p.m. - 8 p.m.
CJAM 91.5FM Windsor/Detroit