Friday, October 1, 2010

On 733 days of making my own media.

That's right, as of this past Tuesday, Rock and the Single Girl is officially two years old! I can't believe it either. Actually, I guess what I really can't believe is how much this blog has changed in a year, and how much I've changed as a writer, critic, sometimes-musician, and cultural agent.

About a year ago I posted about Kate Wadkins' Girl Germs Scene Report, and it very unexpectedly had a major impact on my life. Posting about the Brooklyn 'scene', and the International Girl Gang Underground wound up drawing me into that very network. And having that network, that community, has changed how I understand both myself and my work. I am eternally grateful.

Since getting involved with the feminist musicians, artists, and activists working in my own city, this forum has become very community-oriented. Having a specific place, and a group of acquaintances/friends/colleagues to write about, has given me the opportunity to write about the issues that us girl, queer, non-anglo, differently-abled, differently-incomed, geographically dispersed DIY activists face on a regular basis. And I think, or hope, that this has enabled me to write in a way that is more constructive, and that helps readers to figure out strategies for dealing with discrimination in their own lives.

Writing for a year about community and space has also meant writing about the media produced by these artists. It's meant looking at that media -- records, zines, videos, websites -- as well as more mainstream media in a new way. And as a result, I've learned some things:

1. The mainstream media has more power than any of us realize, and they're not using it for good. When I posted about what l learned during my first year of blogging, I wrote that there were more female and feminist artists and musicians out there than I realized, but that there weren't enough sympathetic journalists to cover all of us. But I think that I was wrong about that. From what I've seen, read, and heard in the past year, it seems to me like the mainstream media works actively to diminish and discredit punk feminist activism, and it certainly, without doubt, works to devalue and marginalize feminist activism in general.

2. Which means that we need to start paying more attention. No one wants to read and feel marginalized, and as a result, most of my friends and I ignore mainstream media. But because of that, sometimes even the most aware and dedicated diy activists aren't entirely aware of just how powerful the media is, and how connected it is to other powerful groups in society. This troubles me; rather than ignoring the mainstream media, I think we need to work on our mainstream media literacy skills. We need to learn to read the subtle and underhanded messages that are being disseminated all around us.

3. But what we really have to do is keep making our own media. The mainstream media doesn't want us to know it, but there are tons of girls blogging, joining bands, and venturing forth into hostile territory and reporting back to us about it through zines, blogs, songs, videos, and more. These artifacts, albums, zines, etc., are more than just cultural byproducts; they are our culture. They are important in and of themselves, not just as materializations of our feelings and ideas and experiences. They are our feelings, ideas, and experiences, and they also convey information about how and why we've chosen to document certain parts of our lives. They also serve the paramount function of connecting us to each other and helping to create community.

I have to admit that I've had a good time learning all of this -- I've learned it through going to shows, hanging out with like-minded people, reading about music and listening to an untold amount of cds, tapes, 7-inches, and the occasional 12-inch. In general, despite some hardship and tragedy, I have had a good year writing this blog and dialoguing with all of you dear readers.

So, thank you. Thank you for a good year, and thank you in advance for this coming year. I hope that you'll make it a good one with me, and that you'll all be inspired to make some of your own.

1 comment:

KW HQ said...

Somehow I only just caught this post now. THANK YOU, Jamie, for continuing to make your own media, for working through the tragedy (and sharing some of that with us), and being such a smart, well-spoken voice for feminist activism, music, documentation, and all the rest. I am proud to know you.