It’s only Rant ‘n’ Roll…and I love it.

Greetings Luvvies.  I was going to blog today, but I’m a teeny tiny bit cranky.  So I went through some hideously old files and found a little bit written probably, oh gosh, eight or ten years ago for Goldmine Magazine.  I can’t even remember if they ended up publishing it.  I think I frightened the editor.  So here you are….a little rant from the bottom of my heart.

Whiny Women In Rock

An ancient and wise prophet once said: if you don’t like what you read or see – then close your damn eyes or shut the book.

Call me un-PC, call me an anti feminist, call me anything you want to, but don’t call me wrong!  What’s up with all these  whiny women in rock?  Now, I’ll be the first one to cry out (a la Martha  Stewart) that “Angst – it’s a good thing”, but honestly do we  really need to be assaulted with it 24/7, by some snivelling tank- top wearing, nipple displaying brat on MTV and MOR radio?  I  think not. Remember the understated, snarling passion of Janis, Patti, and Siouxie?  Now those women knew what to do with a little self-pity!

And we’re not talking about the bubblegum pap of Britney or Christina, nor even the “secret” riot grrrl movement (who actually almost pull it off)… we’re not even talking about Courtney Love – she’s got her own category.  The offences instead lie with the Fionas, Alanis’s, Leahs and Jewels of this brave new world.  And, goodness gracious, kudos to them for getting off their asses and  doing something, but really… are they actually furthering the empowerment of women?

Rape, incest, and death, oh my!  While Jewel is bitching  about having to live (at her own initiative) in a van (boo hoo), Leah instead prefers to tackle these other, grim, subjects – taken allegedly from her own life observations.  Now pardon me, but  after seeing these very stories on TV over bran flakes and black coffee every morning, then dealing with them again at a shamanistic, repressed memory scream therapy session before enduring an hour and a half of traffic on the way to work, do we really need to flip on the alt/guitar/i’m-not-as-young-as-I-used to-be radio station to hear it all over again?  I’d rather not.  Quite honestly, if she’s that trashed already, she needs therapy more than I do.

Then there’s Alanis – Jagged Little Pill my ass. Honey, you’re from Canada – it’s mellow up there, you don’t need a pill.  Plus she hit the television screen on Nickelodeon at twelve years old (how tough is that?), and I have a friend, who shall remain  nameless, but his initials are….  Well, he swears Alanis is really Dave Grohl from Foo Fighters.  Or was it vice versa?  I can never remember until the Prozac kicks in.

And Fiona, my God, girlfriend – put some damn clothes on  and eat something! And quit whining about your sex life – just  wait until you get older then you’ll really have something to  whine about. Here’s a little tip – no one has sex over 30.  For  some strange reason, many of my male friends find her absolutely luscious.  Oddly, most of them are married and, like me, are thirty-something (Oh come on – I admit it!  If I were 20 do you  think I’d be complaining?).  I haven’t polled my friends, the wives, about this strange phenomenon yet and don’t think I will – just to keep the  – “What does SHE have that I don’t!  I can’t  believe YOU think she’s hot.  Now, GO TAKE OUT THE TRASH!” –  kind of thing at a minimum.  Besides, no one has ever yet accused me of meddling.

Don’t get me wrong, women’s voices need to be strong, no matter the profession.  Seventy cents on the dollar still doesn’t cut it – and what better medium than music to spread a message of strength.  But somehow, these girls seem to have gone astray.

Yes, it sucks when your relationship is ending.  And abuse, rape, incest, abortion are truly wrenching subjects that should be addressed.  But what about tackling some other topics once in a while – ones that will instil a feeling of activism  rather than  making one actively reach for another Valium? What about fair wages, what about that fact that unless you separate credit  arrangements at the beginning of a marriage, you will find you  have no credit when your shitty marriage ends in divorce? It’s one in two, so get your finances in order.

What about getting a fair crack in the old boys network professions that still dominate the workplace?  None of these issues have gone away.  They just lurk under the surface of a self-satisfying, self indulgent, self-gratifying generation of  women who are too busy getting in touch to get in touch.

Okay, so subjects like these aren’t “sexy” (whatever that means these days), aren’t “hip” and certainly won’t get you on  the cover of “Rolling Stone” – LIZ PHAIR IN EQUAL PAY FOR EQUAL WORK LYRIC SHOCKER.  But still these seem far fresher targets for the bitterness that abounds in these current alt/angst canons.  But of course, that’s just me.  And really, I’m the last one  who’d campaign for a proliferation of happiness in song. Really. Ask any of my friends.

But sometimes, the oppression of letting all our “feelings” hang out becomes a little too much to bear.  Believe me I’d let it all hang out too, if hang weren’t fast becoming the operative word.  Where are the Cure when you need them?   And  don’t even get me started on the guys who belt out “Hand In My Pocket” or “Little Sister” to show that they, too, understand how “we” feel, and they share “our” pain.  Give me a break, I’ll give you some pain.

Okay, I know, I’m not 15 years old any more and blah blah blah blah.  Well, too bad.  Please don’t peddle your personal wares under the guise (however mislabeled by the press it may by) of feminism and women’s empowerment. It’s boring, and it’s been done to death.   And I know I’m not the only one out there who feels the way I do.  My friend and I are starting a club – it’s called Women Against Women In Rock.  Anybody want to join?

So now I’ve had my rant and committed the great no no of  journalism – getting personal. So fire me.  Am I bitter – you bet!  Does that upset me?  Are you kidding – I thrive on it!  I suppose one could argue, therefore, that I’m really no different to the Alanis’s, Jewels and Fionas of this world.  Just, perhaps, a teeny tiny bit older.  But if you want to argue, too bad. You’ll have to excuse me, the midmorning news is on and that  means it’s time for my double scotch and Xanax.  (AH)

About Amy Hanson

Delaware based author and self confessed book nut Amy Hanson has been publishing professionally since 1995. She covers myriad subjects ranging from multi-genre music journalism and literary biography to pop culture, health issues for the layman as well as an assortment of metaphysical oddities.  An avid foodie and film buff, she currently resides in the idyllic college town of Newark with her husband and three cats. View all posts by Amy Hanson

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