Monday, October 12, 2009

Lessons learned after 379 days in.

While I'm not what you'd call a 'quitter', I'm still sort of surprised that this blog is a year old. I've spent the last few days thinking about what a year of blogging has meant for me.

As one might expect, I've learned a lot about writing: I've learned how to be nice without being sappy, how to be critical without being snarky, how to draw comparisons and make references without sounding like a name-dropping douchebag. (I hope.) And all of this is important, because writing about something non-verbal, like the sound and movement in a performance, is actually quite difficult.

But I think what I've learned about women and their standing in music culture(s) is kind of more important:

1. There are tons of women in punk and rock's other less accessible genres. Not so long ago, I found myself telling a close friend, "Sometimes I'm worried that there aren't other girls out there. Who play music and care about good bands, and punk, and playing music. 'Cause if they aren't out there, I might as well just end it now." This concern? Totally unfounded. If you look for it, you will find amazing work being done by female musicians. This might be hard to believe, but trust me: it's an issue of visibility, not presence. Which sort of brings me to my next point...

2. There don't seem to be anywhere near enough feminist or even female-friendly writers out there to cover all these artists. There are probably many reasons for this. I think one reason is that the need is going unrecognized. If women and feminist musicians suffer from such low visibility, why would anyone, male or female, think that columns, blogs, articles, and other literature devoted to such artists are necessary? The same goes for so-called 'women's issues'. If sexism itself and inequality are ignored, why would any one believe that attention to women and 'women's issues', in any area of culture or society is necessary?

3. Despite what you hear, dialogues on music (and art in general) and 'women's issues' are totally necessary. This blog started out as a way for me to cope with not being able to really play music or even talk about it while in grad school. And I was insecure about it in a lot of ways. On top of feeling guilty for not being happy with grad school, I worried that music and feminism weren't as important as I thought they were.

But now there are people who actually read my blog, and they've responded positively to some of my ideas. And so I had to accept the possibility that I might be doing something right, here. I've realized that in speaking openly about music and especially feminism, I say things that some people can't say. I have the opportunity to articulate problems that someone out there might be facing. There's nothing more gratifying than having the power to validate someone else's experience, and having your own validated in return by a reader.

So, thank you, everyone for reading! And thank you for playing, for writing, and for putting yourselves out there. To a year of Rock and the Single Girl, and many more!


Bev said...

Roger all that, I have female friends who eat, sleep and breath punk rock but still mistakenly believe there aren't a lot of women playing the kind of music they like. We need to devise more effective ways to find each other.

jamie said...

Oh, this is so heartening. Thank you for this comment! Despite knowing that there are lady punks out there, all over the place, I never get tired of hearing it from an actual person!