Friday, October 18, 2013

Final Project: Women in Music

Music has the capacity to do more than just entertain. It can break barriers, challenge social constructs and deliver important messages to society.  The strides that women have made in the fight for equality; political, social or otherwise can be seen in music throughout multiple generations and genres. For my final project I'd like to look at women's participation and impact in music.

I'd like to compile a chronologically accurate playlist of important women in popular music. Budget and time permitting, my hope is to be able to make physical mix cd's for the whole class, complete with booklets that have information on the artist and her relevance in the feminist movement. 

Picking which artists to focus on will be my greatest struggle because there are so many talented, important ladies to choose from. All though they will be included, I don't want to focus only on those who have active feminist voices (Kathleen Hannah, Courtney Love, etc.) Even if certain artists haven't been vocal about feminism, their presence alone is in many ways important to the movement. Most, if not all genres of music started out as boys clubs, and women breaking the musical glass ceiling and prospering in those genres is empowering in itself. 

Some sources:

A few artists I plan on using:
Patti Smith
Lauryn Hill
Kathleen Hannah
Beyonce Knowles

(Many, many more.)

I hope to be able to entertain and educate!


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    1. (Sorry, I deleted my initial comment because there was a typo)

      Music is a particular passion of mine so I'm looking forward to your project! I like that you are looking into different genres. For a long time prior to the "discovery" of different sounds and artists, I didn't listen to many female-fronted bands or women vocalists. This changed as I learned more, but I admit most of my favorite bands still consist of predominantly white, male, British dudes.

      However, Talking Heads and Tom Tom Club's Tina Weymouth was a formative influence (also in my icon, heh). She was the first female bassist I knew of. I also really like Karin Dreijer Andersson of The Knife and Fever Ray (her solo project). She's very vocal about gender, feminism, and politics in general. The Knife's music video for "A Tooth For An Eye" and their explanation behind the concept is interesting:

      I listened to a lot of disco growing up so Donna Summer is a big influence, too--both on me and on other musicians that followed her slick sound. "I Feel Love" is legendary!

  2. I think you've got a nice selection of artists going on and I'm sure you have many more. However, since country music is often overlooked in these parts, so I think it would be good to include Loretta Lynn (if you already haven't).

    Country music isn't often considered very female friendly, but Loretta definitely stood out for certain songs that celebrated women and their choice at a time (and place) where that wasn't okay. There are a bunch of songs of hers I could suggest, but "The Pill" seems to be the most relevant for you project.

  3. also you should totally add Billie Holiday (not sure if thats how you spell her name though), she had such a crazy life story (i think she was a victim of human trafficking for a while) and it totally resonates in her voice and music

  4. I really like this project idea. One genre of music I thought of immediately was hip hop. Hip hop to begin with is dominated by males and is for the most part, frowned upon by the public. If you could perhaps find an artist who helped empower women in the hip hop industry, it would be very effective. We can see that women in hip hop music videos, but that doesn't do the public any good, which is very unfortunate.