Forgetting Women in Popular Culture

The journal article by Catherine Strong, titled “Grunge, Riot Grrrl and the Forgetting of Women in Popular Culture,” depicts women in history as being forgotten. The author uses the Grunge era of the 1990’s in her analysis as the point of reference. The survey makes a clear reference to the Australians that were living in the era at the time. Additionally, the author makes a string reference to the articles and media sources that existed, in an endeavor to unearth why many women rockers were forgotten.

From the article, the Grunge era was characterized by anti-sexism and gender neutrality. As noted, many female musicians apart from Courtney Love were regarded as “Riot Grrrls”, a situation that made it difficult to remember individual female artists.

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The author attributes this behavior of female discrimination to the idea that people do not regard females as dedicated and serious, regarding them as sexual objects. The people’s belief in addition makes the media, which is supposed to market them and announce their popularity, look down upon them as they mostly compare them with the male counterparts.

Additionally, many female rockers have been forgotten because of their desire to be liberal and non-sexists. The media mostly directs its attention on the new females in rock, other than concentrating on the established women rockers. Any female who decided to join a male’s band was given the role of a bassist, making them get devalued and in turn worsening the situation.

The “Riot Grrrl” movement as presented was one of the feminists groups in the Grunge area. Additionally the movement was involved in politics and was supported by male artists such as Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain. Many females were actively involved in the music industry during the Grunge era.

The women openly declared their rights and desires in the music and were very confrontational. They felt suppressed and thus obviously made their anger known to the society through music while rejecting any offer to speak publicly through the media. This however made it difficult for them to keep any records as documentation was almost non-existent and the possibility of future remembrance completely destroyed.

The society either does not support any women rockers and as noted, many of the interviewed people were insensitive indicating the presence of masculine society. Various people brought up Kurt Cobain and Eddie Vedder and other mentioned female artists, including Courtney Love and L7. All regarded females as “eye candy” and the bands were male dominated.

The Grunge era thus regarded women as people who should be seen and not heard. The era indicated a time where women were not regarded as rockers and their role into music was limited. Men who had women in their bands despite having stronger vocal were bassists, thus ensuring that they were almost concealed from the rest of the audience.

Neither did the society recognize their role especially in music nor in the vocals and most of them became known stars only after joining the feminist clubs such as the Riot Grrl and later rising to the 21st century in them. The same transpires in the contemporary world for women who mostly engage in certain forms of music such as rap and hip hop. Thus one has to feature a renowned musician in the genre to succeed. In every endeavor to advance such genres of music independently, it takes time to rise.

These include the likes of Missy Elliot. In any collaboration done, women are allowed to bring the vocals of the soft parts and live the hip hop parts to the likes of Lil Wayne and other established hip hop male artistes. Women are more appreciated if they engage in soft genres such as blues, thus the likes of Beyonce. Unpredictably, men who take into such soft genres are regarded as being all-round and very successful, for instance Michael Bolton, West Life, Justin Timberlake and others.

Other than the awareness that was advanced at the time, famous female artists were forgotten. The article by Strong (2011) thus encourages the reader to clearly analyze the society and critically think the role women play in the society. Various policies have been advanced that would have assisted to fight gender inequality but many times they are ignored.

As noted, change is like rest. To date men and women are still not regarded as equal, mostly in the employment sector to various professions which are referred to as male dominated jobs such as architecture, engineering and other sciences. Women are only made to feel as if they belong to a certain moment and have no relevance in the future.

The journal additionally makes it clear that if any woman has to be remembered, the process will only arise if she has for instance freed slaves, or has been married to a famous man, or has to be identified as one who stood for her rights; a situation which in the era was closely related to deviance. For a man however, to become famous and probably leave a legacy behind, one had only to make up some edgy music and later die from a drug overdose.

Reference

Strong, C. (2011). “Grunge, riot Grrrl and the forgetting of women in popular culture.” Journal of Popular Culture, 44(2): 398-416.