this is what a feminist music writer looks like.
I attended the Ellen Willis symposium this weekend, organized at NYU by friends and colleagues of mine, and in honor of the amazing anthology just released. Speaking as someone who hung on every word in the previous Willis anthology, Beginning To See The Light, it was a delight to sit in that room with people who felt and thought like me, to be one in a sea of nodding heads when most of the time, that head is nodding solo and alone, or at least it feels that way.
My two big AH HA moments were when I said, “I waste so much time either apologizing for being too feminist, or not enough.” Funnily enough, my baseball blog, which a large portion of the world views as a dominion of bra burning ball busting man hating supremacy, was judged as not feminist at all by a so-called leading feminist web site a few years back, who refused to list my site in a list of feminist sports blogs. The other was when Irin Carmon pointed out how she had to keep checking the dates in the book when she’d read a story about Willis relating something that happened to her, because in so many ways, things have not changed.
But mostly, the biggest moment was just about doing the work, and owning the work. Everyone around me – male and female – felt like they needed to immediately GO HOME AND WRITE, but of course, no one wanted to leave.
I mentioned to someone else that I hoped that something I had done, by sitting and typing words, had made things better for the 20 something colleagues who were at the conference, or changed things. And he said that while things may not have changed, they are probably better. And I got asked for advice, and gave advice, and the advice that I gave – stop bemoaning what you haven’t seen or read or heard or written, just start looking and reading and writing, you don’t have time for anything else – could also be very well taken by myself.
I am linking to Ann Powers’ NPR Music Blog story about the weekend because there is a great photograph of many of us on the steps of the Judson Memorial Church, I know that when I was 15, or 20, or 30, and wanted to know that there were other feminist music writers out there, I would have liked actual, physical proof. (I was pleased that during the taking of the photograph we had many “Just Kids” moments as tourists stops and snapped pictures just in case we were famous. But we are, I wanted to tell them.)
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