Saturday, March 8, 2014

Some food for thought: Women's History Month (my pre-teen years)

As I noted in my last op'd piece I wrote earlier this week, I am continuing it with my musical influences in my pre-teen years. Yeah I know this is out of order/synch but I decided at the time I wrote my previous blog entry that I decided to just go with what felt right at the time, and going out of order seems right to me. Besides this is my blog ;).

According to my calender and Facebook newsfeed, today is International Women's Day. I think it was obvious that today's blog entry would be all about women, mainly the women who influenced me in my youth. Yes I am going to put a number to my age when I saw that I was born in '74 thus grew up as an '80s child so a lot my musical influences were women. So yes, I am old and I have the white hair to show for it. LOL!

My latest Spotify playlist Women Who Has Influenced Me highlights the women I grew up on. I'll be perfectly honest here...Madonna is not on my playlist is because she really didn't have an influence on me as did the other women. I liked her music but Madonna didn't do much for me. I was more of a Cyndi Lauper fan and I still am to this very day. I think it was Cyndi's quirky persona that drew me to her. Another reason I preferred Cyndi over Madonna is that I felt that Cyndi was and still is a better singer. I finally saw Cyndi live for the first time last year, she totally was everything I expected her to be as a live performer. Her quirkiness shined through in her humorous antecdotes about the making of She's So Unusual she would ramble on in between songs.  Still adore Cyndi as an adult. The music scene needs more women like Cyndi who do not conform to the industry's expectations/standards.

Bands like The Bangles and The Go Go's were massive influences on me as a child, especially The Bangles. To see a group of women play instruments and write their own music really showed me that women could do more than just sing. I was really drawn to The Bangles' music because of how well the women harmonized on the songs akin to The Beatles. The band's '60s/'70s influences really shone through their music. On my playlist, I chose their non-singles songs that really highlighted the band's abilities to harmonize as well as them being my personal favorite songs. I loved The Go Go's because their music was a little more raw and harder compared to The Bangles' power pop sound. Still both bands I adore to this very day and their influence on me still reflects on my fondness for all female bands.

As I grew older as a child, edgier music by Berlin, Blondie, and The Pretenders started to seep into my subconsciousness. I think I was about 12 or 13 when I got into Blondie. I am sure it was because of the radio and tv (like Friday Night Videos). I remember having a cassette version of The Best of Blondie and playing the shit out of it. LOL! I simply loved dancing to Blondie's music. Berlin was one of the first new wave bands I got into growing up. I remember hearing "No More Words" on the radio and cranking up my little boombox to hear the song. The album LoveLife remains a personal fave in terms of '80s new wave music. As for The Pretenders, I honestly can't remember how I got into them. I do remember seeing videos for "Brass in Pocket" and "Back on the Chain Gang" and just loving their music. Yeah, I know my memory sucks :P. I'll say this what struck me the most about The Pretenders was Chrissy Hyndes' own personal convictions like on animal rights.

Looking back I wonder I went from listening to such cool music to such lame ass hair metal when I entered my teenage years (thankfully I was saved by the likes of Social Distortion, L7, and Babes in Toyland). I wish there really wasn't a need for International Women's Day but considering the way women are still being treated in the world (including in the good of USA where misogyny  and religious fundamentalism runs rampant in certain parts of the country) I really believe that the day is needed. We as human beings (male or female) need to start treating each other with respect. As a woman, I would really appreciate it if a woman is allowed to have complete autonomy over her own body without the intervention of religious fundies (including other women) and sexist pigs (no offense to members of the porcine family who are actually intelligent and more likely capable of critical thinking than their human counterparts).

After reading Cyndi Lauper's memoir last year, I was amazed by what she had to go through as a woman to get to where she is now. I also love her passion for gay rights over the years. Not only is she a huge influence on me musically but on a social political level well too. Her strength and perseverance just amazes me to no ends of the earth. Cyndi makes me proud to be a feminist, a term I am not a ashamed of using to describe myself. Women should not be ashamed of using that term. I blame the far right wing and their followers for making the term "feminist" a derogatory term. It is not. I should have also credited the band L7 in my previous op'd piece who help started the whole Rock For Choice movement to make me more aware of a woman's reproductive rights as a teenager. The same can be said about Tori Amos and her being a spokesperson for RAINN (rape, abuse, incest, national network). These women are not just artists but political activists who I absolutely have nothing but love and respect for. And yes I am a flaming liberal/moonbat/femi-nazi for any right wing troll out there.

Yes as the human race in general should treat one another with respect and kindness so we don't need days like International Women's Day but reality shows that isn't happening. Thanks to Texas, their abortion law has pushed numerous clinics to close its doors. They have just made it more difficult for women to get access to health care. This is just some of the shit women is being subjected to in this country and why International Women's Day is necessary. If I was really sorry for getting political at the end of today's blog,I would apologize but I am not. Being a woman,feminist, and that this is International Women's Day, I feel like it is necessary to celebrate being a woman, my musical influences and yet still try to justify why this day is still needed. Anyone offended by my more serious segments of my blog entry, I'm not sorry. That's all I have to say.

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