Where Have All the Riot Grrrls Gone? Pop Music and "Post-Feminism"
There was a pretty interesting article in yesterday's Houston Chronicle about some of today's female pop stars. The author, Steve Haruch, describes how candy pop acts like The Veronicas, Katy Perry, and Lady GaGa are consistently referred to as "post-feminist" by the media without there being much evidence for the claim (save for perhaps some glitter and a song about faux-lesianism).
I agree with Haruch; though I sometimes jam out to "Pokerface" I do not consider it a feminist anthem in any sense. And post-feminism? I don't buy it. What I do want to know is, are there any pop stars out there right now who are holding it down for feminism? Where have all the riot grrrls gone?
Before we go any further, I realize that there is a division among us feminists and her name is Beyonce. Blog readers may recall my Beyonce power pack wherein I made the claim that Ms. B is more of a feminist icon than she gets credit for. I also LOVE Beyonce and am willing to admit my biases. (But she does sing about empowering women instead of smooching them to get attention from men, so that's something, right? Right?!?) Haruch thinks otherwise:
As the F-word devolves further into marketing PR-speak, we're left with Katy Perry's infantilized, finger-sucking "naughtiness" — sexual transgression for the sake of male titillation more than anything — and a long list of songs that are Feminist Lite at best. (Really, Beyoncé could find another guy? What power! Meanwhile, Jay-Z's got 99 problems, and, um, a lady ain't one.)
Sigh. Fair enough. Pop stars like Perry, The Veronicas, Knowles, and GaGa (hey, it's her last name, right?) may be mentioned in the same breath as post-feminism because they are women who do not necessarily espouse feminist values, or care about them (though remember, I beg to differ when it comes to B). But I don't think that mean we're living in a post-feminist society, it simply means that these women aren't feminists. And why not? Is it because feminist pop singers have paved the way for them? Or is there just not room for gender equality in the world of pop music?
What I really want to know is, which pop stars are representing feminist values? Are there any popular singers out there who are actually keeping it real in the name of the f-word and still enjoying successful music careers? And do you think there is reason to hope that some of the post-feminist-lite pop singers out there will pick up a copy of Sisterhood is Powerful and change their tunes? Or is the pop music scene too far gone? Is it time for us to get out our old riot grrrl albums and call it a day when it comes to women and the current music scene? I hope not. Not because I don't love riot grrrl music (come on, I work for Bitch) but because I want to go out to the clubzzz and hear the beat of feminism alive and kickin'.
I could really use some help here, because I loves me some pop music but I hate supporting cheesy "post-feminist" acts. I never thought I'd say this, but some of the music out there today makes me long for The Spice Girls and their "girl power" message. Sorry, but The Pussycat Dolls just aren't cutting it. (Kids today, right? What happened to the 90s?!?) So if you've been rocking out to an awesome feminist pop song or act lately, write about it in the comments section!
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