I miss being young and restless. 25 years ago, I was a 23-year-old college graduate with so much to look forward to. The music scene was good but also bad for women. Women in music were making strides ahead but sometimes at a great personal cost.
There were good things that I miss about the 90s. I miss the female singers of the 90s like Lauryn Hill, Jewel, and Alanis Morissette. If Lilith Fair was still happening, there is nothing that could keep me away. Do you think it could make a comeback? Some people don’t think there is an audience for an all-female line-up. I wholeheartedly disagree. There are female acts that go on their own tour so why not another festival? It’s probably a financial issue. Maybe there aren’t enough people with money to support a female line-up. I’d like to think that female musical acts have always been worthy enough for their own festival.
The documentary about Alanis Morissette was interesting. She made such a huge impact on young women. She said what so many of us wanted to say. Morissette embodied her own “Me Too” movement way before “Me Too” existed. If you have a chance, check out Morissette’s new music. She still has so much to say.
What about the sexual assaults that have occurred in every aspect of the music industry? I’m not surprised, just horrified and disappointed. There were few boundaries that dudes didn’t cross – then and now. In theory, a woman should be able to wear whatever she wants and no one should touch her. In reality, rapists will try to touch her no matter what she is wearing.
Women still have an extremely difficult time getting justice for the crimes committed against them. Look at how difficult it is to get an obviously guilty rapist to either be charged or to serve a fraction of their sentence.
It made me angry then and now. My mom thought I was angry all of the time. There were plenty of reasons to be angry. How is a girl supposed to be empowered when the odds are against her?
All of the unspoken rules – don’t tell your truth, don’t be too clever, don’t wear anything the slightest bit revealing- belong in the garbage. In some ways, things are better than in the 90s. More people are speaking their truth in music and writing. Although it is a good start, some days telling the truth doesn’t seem like enough.
Unfortunately, the equal rights movement has not changed enough for women. Why haven’t women – musicians or otherwise – burned down the patriarchy yet? Women have been ready for equality whether it’s on stage or out in the crowd.
At this point in time, it seems like everything related to women’s rights is going backwards but not in a positive, vintagey way. We aren’t getting younger and thinner, just older and embittered.
How are young female musicians and songwriters going to survive if we don’t keep fighting for equal rights? The rights that we do have are evaporating before we can pass the torch to younger generations of females. We have to figure out a different way to get the equality that we deserve.