not really sure where the term "vagina music" originated. The first
time I heard it was in Nicole Holofcener’s awesome film Walking and
Talking, when a male character complained to his female car-trip
cohorts, "Are we gonna listen to this vagina music the whole way
there?" ("Yes!") The second time was almost a decade later, on an
episode of Six Feet Under wherein one of Claire’s art-school friends
demands , "You guys are gonna have to change this vagina music
From these, we can infer that vagina music = music that others feel subjected to and wish to avoid.
Nonfictionally, in my own life, it’s come up in less
confrontational instances, usually in discussions of the famed Michigan
Womyn’s Music Festival—which was originally founded to showcase what
was specifically called women’s music—or the once-mighty Lilith Fair.
I used the expression just last weekend to refer to a band playing
Portland’s Pride festivities whose skinny jeans and self-conscious
rattails screamed ’80s synth revival ,but whose amps bleated out
something much more Indigo/DiFranco.
Tonight Girl's Rock! The Movie premieres in selected cities across the country. I'm going! You should, too, if it's playing where you live (Los Angeles, San Francisco, Berkeley, Seattle, Portland, New York, Chicago). If you're not familiar, Rock 'n' Roll Camp for Girls is a nonprofit that teaches girls ages 8-18 to learn how to rock DIY style and in the process, build their self-esteem and self-confidence. If you're someone who wishes the rock camp would've been around when you were a girl, check out Ladies Rock Camp, their annual fundraiser.
cock rock: To some, the term conjures up images of rock gods in white jumpsuits, long hair haloed by a rainbow of lights, fans waving their Bics in unison as an immaculate guitar solo screams out from a tower of amps. To others, it evokes backstage legends of drugs and debauchery, the triumph of malecentric hedonism over social conscience, the unapologetic celebration of sleaze. To still others, it’s shorthand for memorable riffs with a backbeat that makes you want to throw some devil horns and bang your head.
Whether a music writer makes a living marshalling lyrical evidence for supposedly new trends or manufacturing arguments to shore up tired clichés—and whether you applaud women’s progress in the musical arena or not—one thing’s clear: Women in music, prevalent as they may be, are consistently positioned as an aberration or an exception. Even the phraseology is troublesome: "women in music," "women in rock," and the erstwhile "year of the woman" (thanks for the generosity, guys).
Like some grizzled old-timer sitting on the porch of the homestead talking about the good old days, I think back to the first time I saw MTV and pity the prepubescents of today who didn’t have the luck to see, as I did, the wonder of MTV when it first aired. I was eight years old, alone in my living room, and somehow I knew that I was witnessing a tremendous event: a connection with something that just wasn’t accessible through after-school cartoons or Gilligan’s Island reruns.