Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Females in 80's Rock.
While male musicians of the 80's were filming music videos full of oiled-up women dancing in cages behind bands and making themselves into sex object support for masculine singers, another group of musicians presented a wholly different vision of the roles women could and even were meant to play. This group were the women of 80's rock. Female front-women such as Pat Benetar and Grace Jones refused to be an object for male musicians, and also refused to use their body in order to forward their success, like Madonna. Many women of rock smashed the expectations and succeeded as artists in a still vastly male dominated entertainment medium, setting the stage for the countless female musicians who would follow in their footsteps.
Bands such as Motley Crue and Kiss would often flood the chart with songs that de-mean women and portrayed them as sex objects. Women would often take the oppurtunity to be part of that because it was often the only way in order to become successful in the music industry. Madonna success in the 80's was very empowering for women across the United States, but was the empowerment a negative affect for women? Madonna had sexualised the music industry, with it becoming socially acceptable to wear minimal clothing and to use your body to boost sales. She also raised the bar for perfection expectations, with all women desiring to look 'perfect'. The new gender empowerment gave women the confidence they needed to push gender inequality laws further, but was Madonna and other similar female music artists really the stereotype women of America wanted?
The Women of Rock in the 80's worked a lot harder in order to obtain success, didnt promote perfection, and sang about issue's (often anti-male themes such as Pat Benetar's 'Hit Me With Your Best Shot") that did not include sexual nature. Women were present in the 80's, yes, but those that defy the stereotypes are so few and far between that they make up a demographic only slightly larger than that occupied by artists of racial and sexual minorities. Women who stood apart from the stereotype caught news and were eventually held up as rock idols for what they did, while those who did so who were also part of a minority struggled on, unrecognised.
During a period where women were slowly moving up the equality ladder, it took real confidence to not become one of the female stereotypical 'robots' for an easy route to success. And the Women of Rock from the 80's stood a side from the powerful movement of women that promoted women as sexual beings. They did not want an easy success by flaunting their bodies, they worked as hard, if not harder than male rock stars in order to defy the stereotypes and show just what women are capable of if they are given the chance.