Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Hump Day Treat, Ambivalent '90s Heroine Edition

So today, we're jumping into the ol' flying delorean and punching 1993 into the keypad on the dash. That's right, we're going back Liz Phair's celebrated debut release, Exile in Guyville.

A recent photo of LP, and one of her many very attractive guitars, in concert.

Ever since I saw a paper on Liz Phair listed on the Sarah Lawrence Women's History Conference, I've been on a bit of an old school LP kick. The paper was called "'If Liz Phair's Exile in Guyville Made You a Feminist, What Kind of Feminist Are You?': Heterosexuality, Race, and Class in the Third Wave", and author Elizabeth K. Keenan does a fine job of praising Phair's accomplishments, while still critiquing the way Phair has let the music industry and media meddle with her image. The paper hasn't been published yet, but I look forward to geeking out over it when it does. In the meantime, enjoy a very '90s looking Liz Phair video on this sunny hump day.


SISSY said...

I was a feminist long before I heard "Exile in Guyville," but I have to credit that album for making me an overall more sex-positive feminist, and more understanding of the heterosexual woman's experience. (Granted, I now FULLY understand that Ms. Phair's sexual experiences differ from many, but I was 17 when I first heard it and the world was a lot more cut-and-dried back then.) I like to think that I discovered her outside of media influence, though it did take VH1's "Top 100 women in rock" series to introduce me to her in the first place.

ANYWAY, I'm interested to see what Ms. Keenan has to say about her.

jamie said...

I don't entirely remember how, but I got my hands on Exile in Guyville when I was like, 12. (What can I say. My mom was lax about that sort of thing.)

It definitely did not make me a feminist. (As if one single thing can do that, anyway.) I didn't have experience with a lot of what she was singing about, though I bet that I sort of did understand it in my own weird, pre-adolescent way.

For me, Phair was an alternative model of womanhood and female musicianhood. Even though so much of her image is actually quite mainstream (slender, Anglo, blonde, etc.), she seemed really different from pretty much everyone else out there, at the time.

Elizabeth Keenan's presentation was great, she had a lot to say about the feminist blogosphere's response to EIG's reissue. She also spent a lot of time analyzing the song "Flower", and something about getting to hear that song in an academic context felt incredibly validating, not to mention appropriately subversive. I can't wait to read the actual paper, I'm going to facebook her and see if she'll e-mail me an early draft.