International Women’s Day
I’ll be honest, I don’t always know what day it is, or, even what time it is right now. That said you do pick up on signals, clues in the media – and it had been great to see Arté (Euro cable art channel) broadcasting a great documentary on the Riot Grrrl scene last saturday. Even with points deducted for the occasional descent into music doc clichés, it was great to witness the enthusiasm of Kathleen Hanna of Bikini Kill and Beth Ditto of The Gossip and the other important luminaries of this vital and kick-ass scene. But then when I realised the next morning it was International Women’s Day – I suspected some cynical TV scheduling too.
Not a nice thought. But possibly this was just a stupid reflex of mine as lets face it, equality in music often seems still pretty far off, and an hour in the company of such musicians is always time well spent.
But media-cynicism in the internet age is understandable. I have to slap down my techno favourites Underground Resistance a little bit on this count too. To mark the day they posted a cover version of their classic track „Transition“, interpreted by an all-woman line-up of A.M.O.R., Nightwave, Nancy Whang, Mamacita and Coco Solide. A fantastic track, no question. But did they have to press the thing in pink vinyl?! And why did they just thank their supporters rather than make a more appreciative gesture to every female out there? „Shout outs to all the women who have supported us individually and collectively, as friends, family, and fans who may have been both.”
Props without provisos go out to my editorial buddy Linus Volkmann, a true fighter for equality, 365 days a year. For the latest episode of his series „Pop & andere Katastrophen“ („Pop music and other catastrophes“) for the internet site Arte Creative, he took on pop music’s female stereotypes. The bad part though: these exact sayings are still used every day to describe music by women by most mainstream media. We’ve some way to go it seems.
The Swiss-German author Sibylle Berg is known for her earthy humour – bear that in mind when you learn that she tweeted on International Women’s Day that one of her buddies had congratulated her on her continued possession of female genitalia. A nice, unapologetic gesture, right?
Musician and Monika Enterprises label head Gudrun Gut used the day as an opportunity to let everyone get up to speed on her brand new Female Pressure Blog (a new development for her all-female producer booking agency) and also posted a new video of her working in the studio. Both fabulous.
We also spotted author Anne Philippi promoting an interview she did with Mike D. of the Beastie Boys. It was published in PS Welt, some sort of car-appreciation blog within Die Welt’s website which I must confess I hadn’t seen before, hosted by German journalist Ulf Poschardt and friends. Finally a media title where the 1970s macho world is still unabashedly in motion! One where the girls are still living their eye-candy dream jobs standing vacantly next to new cars! Nice to see the gents can still strut it, loser-style, here in 2015…
It’s not always easy to fly right. But maybe it is getting easier. As Slim Moon, founder of Kill Rock Stars, one of the few labels in the history of rock music which could honestly say it has spent 25 years equally concerned with releasing music by men and women, puts it at the end of this very Riot Grrrl documentary: I’m not trying to be a feminist, I’m just trying not to be an asshole…