Dominant, submissive, top, bottom, masochist, sadist... What if your kink preferences don't fit one of these labels? Does popular culture have no time for fence-sitters, or as Jay Wiseman called them, "switch-hitters"? Or does it regularly represent them without acknowledging their existence?
Best of Bitchtapes! Here's a Bitchtapes from the past we're re-posting because it's too jam-worthy to forget!
The other day, while singing "Forever Your Girl" in the shower (don't judge – you know that song rules) I started thinking about the awesome female pop stars of the early 90s. Now, full disclosure: I was born in 1982, so I began to develop my own taste (or lack thereof) in music during that golden era. Janet Jackson, Paula Abdul, Whitney Houston – these women taught me and my tween (though we didn't call it that back then) friends what it meant to truly rock out as strong women. Sure, our side ponytails, multicolored keds, and leggings may not have said "Empowered Women" to the kids on the playground, but as we jammed out to "Rhythm Nation" on our Sony Walkmen our veins coursed with the power that only a true Female Pop Star can provide.
The early 90s were full of said Female Pop Stars, so without further adieu, I bring you BitchTapes: Female Pop Stars of the Early 90s Edition. Throw that hair into a side ponytail and let's do this.
Track listing and (I couldn't help it) videos after the jump!
The other night, I found myself sitting in a concert hall with a thousand other people having an absolutely A+ time at one of the few North American dates on the farewell tour for Euro pop icons a-ha. Yes, a-ha. No matter that I'm not old enough to have fully appreciated their short-lived American heyday (although they've never ceased to be a presence on the other side of the Atlantic) in the mid-80s. I learned about them via the Pop-up Video treatment ( I'm sure there are even readers who are too young to appreciate that show) of "Take on Me" and more seriously, their concert participation in Live 8.
As I sang along with "The Living Daylights" and "The Sun Always Shines on TV," I started thinking about nostalgia. Specifically, Gen Y's relationship to nostalgia. I can't be the only one to see that the proximity of what counts as bygone days has been increasing dramatically in recent years.
"Rave On" is the Page Turner series that asks feminist writers, artists, musicians, activists, leaders, and scholars to talk about a book that completely rocked their world. Today we feature musician and singer-songwriter Joan Wasser, of Joan as Police Woman, on Outlaw Culture: Resisting Representations, by bell hooks.
Outlaw Culture taught me to change the way I thought about everything. I first read it when it was released in 1994 because it had a chapter about Madonna and how she turned her back on her original, daring woman image and ultimately gave into the little-girl, sex-kitten status quo.
I had written essays on Madonna when I was in high school, horrified because my ideas of empowered women were Siouxsie Sioux and Exene Cervenka. I was already a massive music fan and felt confused by Madonna's brazenly sexual image (and unshaven underarms) in combination with her music, which I considered, at the time, totally useless fluff. I was thrilled to find someone else who shared my distaste for her, like hooks did, albeit in a completely different way.
When people talk about Madonna as a symbol of female empowerment, I have to ask, "Empowering to whom?" Certainly not to the black and brown people populating her Sex book, her videos, or her film Truth or Dare. It is through this lens of Madonna's messy racial and sexual politics that I viewed her adoption of a child from Malawi three years ago, and her recent, thus-far-unsuccessful effort to adopt a second child there.