Friday, 4 February 2011

on women in music and other projects

I feel like I've dropped off the face of the Earth recently. The film festival has been going well - as well as some of the collaborative projects we've got on the go. What I'm doing now - it just really keeps affirming that this is what I want to do. Other than that I've been back at ole University - and currently working on a seminar on Gender In Cultural Performance. I love music, I really really do - though maybe am not at culturally versed as other members of my group. Female artists have always had a major influence on me - stylistically, emotionally - the whole shebang. From Spice Girls to Riot Grrls, the way woman are portrayed within the music media is constantly evolving - but as I ready more in to it, it's very difficult to try and put together a very black and white argument in which is a far more complex issue than female oppression.
It seems as long as there has been contemporary music there has always been woman pushing the gender boundaries - Grace Jones, Le Tigre, Sinead O'Connor, Missy Elliot - yet it feels easy to argue that in this case the exception proves the rule. For the most part in music videos - woman seem to be conforming to all these conventions of portrayal of woman in the music video. It's little things that you see in advertising, the cock of the head - biting on fingers. It's become so common in music video (and advertising in general) that we don't realise how odd it is till we put men in the same position.
When discussing gender in performance in the past few years, it's almost in avoidable to not talk about Lady Gaga. I can't quite decide if she is using pop culture and conventions, subverting them to make a statement about mass media and gender identity or if it's just all performance art playing to the patriarchy (although in a very non-traditional sense.) Either way I have all weekend to mull over the issue (and a mass of textbooks to keep me company) but I really am curious to know about how you feel about gender roles in musical performance, and how woman and men are portrayed in the media. Thoughts?In other news - the film festival IS less than two weeks away, so everything has been pretty mental. I've finally managed to book a piano company to bring a disclavier down from Dundee to Glasgow. Do you have any idea how frigging expensive piano moving companies I? To be fair - who we ended up using was actually pretty cheap, but some quotes were frightening. That out the way - one of the collaborative efforts with one of our partners is nearly complete. The photographers, make up artist and models have been great for this particular number - really looking forward to fully coming clean with dates and info and the like, but here is sneaky little peak courtesy of the photographer Levi Macdonald.

Unedited and behind the scenes. I think it looks pretty good, and the partner seems pretty darn pleased with the results too. A few little loose ends to tie up, but it's looking pretty sweet so far. Luckily Jessops loosing the film from the first day of shooting didn't do us too much damage! The partner we've been working with have been nothing but astoundingly supportive - so hoping everything goes off without any further hiccups.

In other news Pyuupiru has an event page here. FYI you can get tickets at GFT,CCA or hell...even online.

I'm hoping to post a highlight of things I'm hoping to get to see this year at the film festival, but for now I've got to brush up on my feminist theory and reacquaint myself with a budget sheet. Hope you have a lovely weekend lovelies!


  1. Oww I love this post, I have to say that I loved that photo shoot of Lady G, but the thing that is playing on my mind at the minute is why every pop (esp women) has her fanny out in every video. It seems men fill there videos with half naked women and call them bitches. But than you see female artists who are meant to empower us, just really just being boy toys. I think a lot (minus my wonderful gaga) just can't sing plus have a shit record so have to sex it up to sell it. I think guys have it easy in music, I think Gaga is very clever and know show to play the game, she can be very masculine and very femme fatale. She can really be anything, she covers up and than strips down, if everyone was told right no more sex in videos she would create something different ...I think the others depend on it. anyway nuff of my gaga rant. I think it would be cool to see something really different from them all, that does not involve the suggestion of sex if they REALLY do have talent than they don't need it. Sorry this was a little off what you were talking about.

    Have a great weekend xxx

  2. Just to add I think over all, women in music are really subjecting themselves and also giving there fans a bad view of women I think. Plus the man are no better, with flashing money and having a heap of naked women in their videos.

    I think the whole music scene is dead, it's all been done. Bowie and Queen and heaps of others were legend they did not need all this branding and it was less about genre more about the music. Bowie used makeup and susie Q dressed in biker gear (but not in a sexy way). Now it's so divided, and predictable all the videos look the same and no one is really doing anything new. Even Gaga is taking inspiration from these.
    Women in music = teenage boys wet dream
    Men in music = either all look the same boy band/ or gangster with bitches

    hope my waffle input helps ... sorry.

  3. love the film festival photos ...
    not sure what i think of how women are portrayed in music, but there certainly aren't many of us around ..... and i have been thinking about myself being in a band into my 30s and what i look like, i suppose the best thing is not to care and just make the music (this isn't what you were meaning anyway, i'm waffling at 8.38am on sat morning!)

  4. How about looking at artists such as Kim Gordon from Sonic Youth or Bilinda Butcher and Debbie Googe from My Bloody Valentine? They may give you a bit of balance? Amazing musicians who do it for the love of the music?

    Personally, I like all my bands to look like rock stars. Boys and girls should make a fucking effort if they are going to get up on stage and entertain me. No tshirts and jeans - EVER! I want full on hair, makeup and ridiculous costumes all the way!!

  5. I am constantly amazed by how much more risqué music videos are becoming, especially hip hop/r&b videos where, as the first person who commented said - men have half naked gyrating women in their videos, and then female artists who are supposed to be strong, independent role models... do the same. If you watch Rihanna's new video (S&M), YouTube have had to limit it to 18+ viewers because the material in it is so adult (when surely the majority of the pop music buying public is 13-15 year old girls?). It worries me that the message this sends to these girls is that women are sexual objects who have to strip off to be successful. I watched the music video for Ciara - Ride It the other day and was pretty shocked (watch it!) It's really difficult to identify whether in all these videos the message is that they are strong women who are aware of their own sexuality and trying to exploit and so they are in control, or, as you say, if in actuality they are just continuing to bow to the patriarchy and continuing to conform to all of the pre-existing perceptions of women as sex objects and objectifications. (I'm not sure any of that made sense). What I will say is that I find it difficult not to laugh when I see Rihanna trying to seductively eat a banana 3 minutes into her music video - I mean REALLY!!

  6. there was a docu on bbc 3 the other night, something to do with 'hip hop honeys' (cant remember the rest of the title) and it was basically about 'video girls' who try to make a career appearing in all the big music videos, dancing etc. it basically explored the way women are depicted in music videos, and how far these girls will go to get famous and be the lead singers main lady. in the case of all these videos (which were more grimey, r&b, hip hop, dubstep etc) it was DEFINATELY not squeaky clean pop. the males were the leading figures and females were essentially 'bitches'. It was really shocking to watch to be honest! :( they interviewed a guy who was like 'basically, sex and violence sells'. So even though we can all be shocked by it, and risky videos, there is a demand from it coming from somewhere :( worrying! xx

  7. gaga looks pretty hot here...


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