As a music lover with my fair share of songs that hate women that I love, I knew I needed to read this book. It is a lot of different essays covering a huge range of genres.
I liked this book, and enjoyed reading all the essays. Though, as is to be expected when a book covers a very narrow topic, it does get a bit repetitive. There’s hardly any resolution to the stories because of course, these are about problematic songs that the authors love. There’s not realllllly much to say beyond: I love this song, it is problematic, here is my justification for still enjoying it. Having said that, I still really liked reading it!
… how was I supposed to use my feminist ideals to fight the art which had already penetrated my core?
I’ve written before about my own problem music collection and how I listen to a lot of male artists and bands (here’s my post about it) and I also targeted the female artists and bands to watch, at a punk festival I went to in the summer (read about my Rebellion festival adventures here). I must admit, that post is my all time most viewed post ever by a very long way – it got shared amongst some punk fan groups on Facebook that I’m thankful I couldn’t see the comments on (I had a few reported back to me and they were not. very. pleasant.). This was my first little brush with getting negative comments for writing about feminism, and it just makes me admire the women who very publicly talk about these things even more – like the authors of this book!
It also reminded me of one of my favourite Onion articles: Woman Takes Short Half-Hour Break From Being Feminist To Enjoy TV Show. 😀
There are a lot of different essays in Under My Thumb – at least 25. I had an ebook version so it’s not so easy to just look at the contents and count. Some of my favourites are: From Enslavement to Obliteration: Extreme Metal’s Problem With Women by Jasmine Hazel Shadrack, I’ve Got Your Letter, You’ve Got My Song: On Pinkerton -by Marissa Chen, and Breaking Binary Codes: On Being a Female Fan Who Prefers Music Produced by Men by Larissa Wodtke. This last one starts with the line:
As a heterosexual female who often doesn’t identify with femaleness…
I get that and how this can make it easier to dismiss misogyny in music. I enjoyed this exploration of becoming more and more bothered by it and realising why it really does matter.
My own personal relationship with songs that hate women can roughly be summed up by:
- Elvis Presley – but it was the 1950s so I justify it that way.
- a lot of punk bands – I don’t listen to the main offending songs.
- Slaves – a band I love, but increasingly I’m turned off by the number of songs that are really quite horrible about women. I’ve listened out for some positive lyrics about women and I’m not getting very far. It’s increasingly disappointing.
I feel better when I love bands that seem to either hate everyone equally, or write positively about women! Luckily there’s far more of these.
p.s. I received a copy of this book free from netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thanks netgalley!