Monday, July 18, 2005

It's just one letter.

Yesterday, I hosted a radio show on my community radio station. I recently became part of a group of women who take turns hosting this show called, "Womyn Making Waves." Its intent is to highlight female musicians. At first glance, it's a good idea, since there aren't as many female artists known in this world as male artists. To see what I mean, look at all the past female Grammy Award winners for "Best Album of the Year" since 1959,

  • 1962: Judy Garland

  • 1964: Barbara Streisand

  • 1992: Natalie Cole

  • 1996: Alanis Morissette

  • 1997: Celine Dion

  • 1999: Lauryn Hill

  • 2003: Norah Jones

"Best Record of the Year" is a little better, highlighting female artists such as Carole King, Roberta Flack, Olivia Newton John, Tina Turner, and Sheryl Crow. Still, I can see the importance of a community radio show highlighting current female artists who aren't singing half-naked and/or Brittney Spears.

What I can't stand is the insistence on spelling women with a "y." I mean, I'm a feminist, but I'm the kind of feminist who doesn't really give a crap that English happens to use "men" in both the male and female genders. I'm the kind of feminist who is interested in spending her time and energy on other problems. In fact, if men and women were completely equal in EVERY other facet of their lives, I still wouldn't give a crap about the damn "y." Internationally, the "y" is even more pointless, given that English is one of the only languages with this gender reference phenomenon.

Instead of spelling women with a "y", I would rather spend that time and energy:

1. Eliminating female circumcision.

2. Ensuring safe, legal, but rare occurrences of abortions by providing young men and women with the family-planning education they need to make choices about safe, accessible, and cost-effective birth control.

3. Reducing the rates of episiotomies and caesarian-sections in the U.S in part by getting HMOs the hell out of the birthing room.

4. Increasing the number of women in the sciences by making academia more female and family friendly, and providing cool female role models to young women in K-12.

5. Helping women to close the pay gap and save enough money to retire.

Whether or not you spell it women or womyn, to find out more about cool female artists, check out the mp3 blog


patbergschneider said...

Who do you play on the show? I'd like to know what kind of people you feel should represent an entire gender.

FemaleCSGradStudent said...

It was tough. I really though about who I would play and I did a lot of research on the new and upcoming artists in areas such as folk, R&B, bluegrass, and independent music. I took it so seriously that I didn't really have much fun. I'm hoping to do a whole show on female electronica artists in the future, but it's hard to find female electronica artists. Here's who I played during the last show.

Over the Rhine
Amelia (Portland Band)
Holly Palmer
Cat Power
Shea Seger
Victoria George
Angela McCluskey
Siobhan Lynch
Jill Scott
Ruthie Foster
Trina Hamlin
Nickle Creek
Roisin Murphy
Aimee Mann

If you are really curious, you can have the CDs I made for the show.

Really, there's no way to represent an entire gender in two hours. Moreover, I've never been one who enjoys showcasing a particular gender over another. I'd rather just have more female artists played throughout the day. But that's hard to encourage across the 50 DJs down at the station.

patbergschneider said...
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mrscake said...

Related to the female circumcision item, did you ever see the movie "Moolaade?" It was really good.