Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Quote of the Day

Musicians, especially those who are women, are often dogged by the assumption that they are singing from a personal perspective.  Perhaps it is a carelessness on the audience's part, or an entrenched cultural assumption that the female experience can merely encompass the known, the domestic, the ordinary.  When a woman sings a nonpersonal narrative, listeners and watchers must acknowledge that she's not performing as herself, and if she's not performing as herself, then it's not her who is wooing us, loving us.  We don't get to have her because we don't know exactly who she is.  An audience doesn't want female distance, they want female openness and accessibility, familiarity that validates femaleness.  Persona for a man is equated with power; persona for a woman makes her less of a woman, more distant and unknowable, and thus threatening.  When men sing personal songs, they seem sensitive and evolved; when women sing personal songs, they are inviting and vulnerable, or worse, catty and tiresome.

-- Carrie Brownstein, Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl, p. 165-166

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