July 12th, 2009 (10:41 pm)
Where's your homie at?: home
I'm feeling: distressed
I'm hearing: Cornflake Girl - Tori Amos
Triple J today counted down "the top 100 songs of all time". Not one of them was sung by a woman.* I'm not really sure what this means... but it honestly concerns and frightens me.
Don't get me wrong - I believe many of the songs on the list were well-deserving of the honor. They're great songs, regardless of who sung them and what gender they were. But it frightens me that of all the great music that exists in the world, not one out of the one hundred was sung by a female. Not 1% of the 'greatest songs of all time' is sung by a woman.
Is there something unappealing about the sound of a woman's voice? Are women incapable of creating great music? Or is society still inherently (yet covertly) sexist even now in our modern, free-thinking and justice-defined world where society strives for and supposedly achieves equality between the genders?
One could argue that women in popular music are largely exploited, and most female-driven music is commercially conceived aural junk-food, citing your Britneys, Jessicas, Mileys, etc, and performers whose music seems to exist largely as a platform to show them gyrating in revealing clothing, and yes, sadly this is true. Even looking back over the years, music from women seems to be a generally easily digestible and essentially disposable commodity. Yet the same ideas can be said for many men in music - I'm sure Ricky Martin would never have had the 'success' he had were he not to have spent most of his filmclips naked from the waist up- and don't get me started on some of today's rap music. The Jonas Brothers, I will kindly not dissect any further.
The counter to this however is that not all women musicians and singers are like this. Whilst there exists a ridiculously large number of poor or simply adequate female singers in the world, one cannot deny there are women out there who's music has helped define genres and affected generations. Where on that list were such names as Janis Joplin, PJ Harvey, Nina Simone, Missy Higgins, Tori Amos, Annie Lennox, Imogen Heap, Whitney Houston, Patti Smith, Melissa Etheridge, Joni Mitchell, Bjork ... Hell, even Jewel probably deserves a mention at least. There are countless other women I am forgetting, not to mention many bands with female frontmen. (Frontwomen?)
I'll wrap this up because I haven't had much sleep this weekend and am probably thinking slightly irrationally, but still. It just ... disturbs me somewhat. Not one
female voice? I don't even know if it means anything, it could just be coincidence. Still. I'm not some radical feminist, but this kind of revelation still gives me some kind of guttural unsettled feeling and it's something I think I will look into further when I am not only more awake and able to look at this from a more... academic' point of view.
*I've since been corrected - I forget that Teardrop by Massive Attack is sung by a women. But still. One song?? Out of 100???? I wish to ponder this.