Volume 92, Issue 26

Wednesday, October, 21 1998

bound and gagged


Dazzling, daring divas

It wasn't until the early '90s that women's voices became louder, stronger, more obnoxious, sweeter and more powerful. Or maybe it's just because it wasn't until the early '90s that I started to pay attention to women's music. But then again, perhaps this attention was simply sparked by an increase in female diversity, talent and quality.

In the past there's been Janice Joplin, Cher, Tina Turner, Annie Lennox and Madonna, to name a few. And these talented divas opened the floodgates for hundreds of other female artists, but only recently have women's words, messages and music been taken seriously in the media.

It's been a long struggle to arrive at this status, including a journey through degradation. These precursors have all needed a gimmick to sell their music – and it was usually sex.

Let's face it, sex sells. But then why is it, that in the latter part of this decade, the popular women in music are cool-ass songstresses who strut their songs and not their titties? They are no longer compelled to express themselves by grabbing their crotches, like Madonna, or feel the need, like Cher, to turn back time with see-through tights.

The female artists are elegant, strong-willed and even raging. The established female tradition has laid the foundation for such singer/songwriters as Tori Amos, Sarah McLachlan and Bif. These women have achieved success on their own terms and merits, not by flashing anything other than their charm and gifted power as musicians.

It's still sad and pathetic, however, to see the Spice Girls having a strong impact on the younger audience. It suggests a void in female role models, with this gap being filled by these untalented, trashy wannabe divas who are in essence puppets of patriarchal managing. The Girls have fired their manager and opted for their own administration, however, their warped conception of girl power strikes an uncomfortable cord in most female role models.

Despite this Spice-anomaly, the trend towards a stronger female is growing, as others in the biz refrain from conducting themselves on the same in-your-face manner. The change – well who knows why it's happening? The feminist movement happened back in the '70s and even though the '80s was just scary, the '90s status took a long time to get here. Women continue to express their individuality without compromising their integrity.

To Contact The Arts and Entertainment Department: gazette.entertainment@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1998