Madiera Darling (madam_mew_mew) wrote in thank_u_glam,
Madiera Darling

Glam as a Feminist Statement

So I wrote this little essay awhile ago, it's about glam metal (the 80s stuff, though some of my points apply to earlier glam as well) has interesting connections to feminism.

Now, before I make my point, I'm going to need to give a little aside on what I mean by feminist. I do consider myself a feminist, because I believe women should have the right to vote, not be raped, and men and women should be allowed equal rights in most circumstances (meaning that basically people should be allowed to have equal freedom of choice, whether you want to go for a career as a home maker, or a rockstar or a rocket scientist, you go and you work for it, and I hope regardless of your gender/sex you get where you wanna go).

The word feminist has been stigmatized by people who oppose egalitarian treatment of the sexes, so that a lot of people think you're some crazy man hating anti-sex nut job when you use the word, but that's not what it's supposed to mean. I love men, I really love men, well not all men, but I love men at about the same rate I love women and people in general, but generally I think people are pretty awesome.

One thing I think that second wave feminism (the 60s and 70s era of feminism) got wrong was it really stigmatized femininity which is a pretty negative message if you ask me, basically associating a lot of positive traits traditionally associated with femininity (nurturing, aesthetic concerns, etc) and stigmatized them, basically saying it was okay for a little girl to improve herself by being more like a little boy, but for a boy to do anything feminine was still associated with weakness.

I think glam is kind of the ultimate rebellion against that femininity=passivity or femininity=weakness gender norm. I think glam dudes are doing something incredibly brave when they don makeup, it's about the biggest fuck you to society you can give. Glam spits in the face of terms like sissy. Glam rock owns its sexuality, owns its strength, and I think is a fantastic example of aggressive (rather than passive) femininity. It's also a great example of femininity and masculinity coexisting without one destroying the other, it seems like so many guys think things like makeup or glitter are embarrassing, or metaphorically castrating, when really it takes balls the size of watermelons to do that as a dude.

In any case, enough of my rambling, basically I just thought it was an interesting and under appreciated aspect of glam.

Thinking about this some more, I was realizing, holy crap I'm really onto something, listening to some lyrics in context a few things clicked.

There are a lot of glam songs that are pretty much about the virgin/whore dichotomy, and they basically come out on the "women who enjoy sex on their own terms are awesome" side of things.

(A quick aside for those who don't know what the virgin/whore dichotomy is. The virgin/whore dichotomy is a misogynist way of viewing women, where men see women who have sexual desire/seem to enjoy sex as bad/dirty whores, and while they still want them as sexual partners they relegate them to the fringes of society and would never openly have a relationship with such a woman, whereas the women they marry/have relationships with/etc are repressed women with no interest in sex and basically women who take pleasure in sex (and enjoy having it for their own pleasure, not just to please their parters) are considered bad/dirty/etc)

"Tainted Angel" by South Gang pretty much covers this, as does "She's No Angel" by covered by Michael Monroe, as well as numerous others including "Good Girl Gone Bad" by Kiss, "Sweet Little Sister" by Skid Row, "Love Bomb Baby" by TigerTailz and to an extent "Cherry Pie" by Warrent all of which come down pretty positively on the side of women who have a healthy attitude towards sex being more viable long term partners than women who do not.

As well a lot of glam's songs about girls are pretty expressly positive, and it seems the quintessential archetype of the rock babe, is a pretty healthy ideal of womanhood. She's usually portrayed as tough, her partner's intellectual equal, independent, healthfully sexual, and not the type to be taken advantage of.

Examples: "Don't you ever leave me" - Hanoi Rocks, "All Lips and Hips" - Electric Boys, "I Wanna Be With You" - Pretty Boy Floyd, "Hot Love" - Twisted Sister, "Cowgirl" - Sons Of Angels, "Still in Love" - The Stage Dolls, "I was Made For Loving You" - Kiss.

Obviously these songs often largely celebrate the sexual aspect these relationships, but the women portrayed are always fully involved enthusiastic participants on the same page about commitment (whether they want it or not, the lyrics suggest that no one is being lied to about what said sexual activity will lead to) and these songs are largely written by young men, and written for an audience in their teens and early 20s, what else do you expect them to have on their mind?

Not to mention actual glam babes are usually pretty awesome themselves, women like Lita Ford, Joan Jett, Doro Pesche, Lee Aaron, the girls in Vixen, and numerous others are all self possessed strong women.

Even songs that are less positive in their view of a specific woman often challenge specific stereotypes about women (IE: that it's always the man who just wants casual sex, and women have to trap them into a relationship) songs like "Angel In Black" by Bangalore Choir are excellent examples of this.

All of this adds up to, holy shit glam was tackling way more issues than it realized it was, managing to get to the right idea and stay there on pure instinct... which is pretty awesome.
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