In The New York Times Magazine on Sunday, Emily Bazelon writes about opposing feminist views of rape culture. Understanding the difference between “dominance feminists” such as Catherine MacKinnon and “pro-sex feminists,” led in “The Sex Wars” by Janet Halley, is crucial to realizing that there is no single ideology for analyzing and overcoming gender oppression. This understanding can be applied to the sex wars raging in rock’n’roll; Chrissie Hynde and Joan Jett could use a little help from feminists such as Halley, while Jackie Fox is setting herself up as pop’s answer to the late Andrea Dworkin. The figure and voice missing from Bazelon’s article is the late Ellen Willis, whose measured, thoughtful critiques of both porn protesters and S&M advocates I’ve been rereading, and missing. If any tabloid tool tries to mansplain feminism to you, hand them this Times piece, and a copy of The Essential Ellen Willis. Then tell him to get a sex change, live as a woman, and get back to you in 50 years.
Tag Archives: New York Times
Since it’s quoted in today’s New York Times review of Jessica Hopper’s book, for today’s Throw-Back Thursday, I’m posting “The Feminine Critique,” the 1992 Village Voice article that became the launching pad for Rock She Wrote: Women Write About Rock, Pop and Rap, the collection Ann Powers and I coedited 20 years ago. Back then, the Times paid it no attention whatsoever. Today, Dwight Garner highlights it as “an excellent anthology.” Ah, the life of a pioneer. At least this work is being honored while Ann and I are still alive. Sometimes, survival is the best strategy. I’m posting the slightly rewritten version that was the intro to the book.
Let’s call it what it is: The Old Gray Man. I don’t know Jill Abramson, and I know this is a complicated story, but I loved her appearance in the bromance Page One: Inside the New York Times, and I know several women who have prospered at the paper during her reign. Dean Baquet seems like a standup guy too, but still, between this and presidential politics, it’s clear to me that America is ready to deal with its racism before it will address its sexism.
Fascinating and mostly spot-on article by AO Scott in the New York Times today about “The Paradox of Art as Work,” or what I like to call Art in the Age of Digital Reproduction. I like the film critic’s broad cultural references, especially Gillian Welch. I am particularly mulling over this sentence: “The idea that everyone can be an artist — making stuff that can be shared, traded or sold to a self-selecting audience of fellow creators — sits awkwardly alongside the self-contradictory dream that everyone can be a star.” I think I disagree with the predicate: These may be antagonistic and possibly even revolutionary notions, not complementary ones. This is actually a topic I devoted independent study to at USC, under Henry Jenkins, and may well take up again. What do you think: Is the idea that everyone can be an artist akin to the idea that everyone can be a star?
It generally takes me all week to savor my New York Times, so I just now read this great interview with Sarah Silverman by Maureen Dowd. Talk about a power couple. Their discussion of the ageism of the comic boys’ club is smart and poignant. And Sarah’s comments about her need for a wife to make child-rearing possible reminds me of the intense conversations we rock moms had a few weeks ago at the MEOW Conference, inspired by Jackie Weissman’s documentary Rock’n’Roll Mamas.
The day I’ve been waiting for: The New York Times review of Queens of Noise is online. It’s a good one.
Ellen Willis still inspires and intimidates me. I first encountered her personally when I was a young copy editor and aspiring music critic at The Village Voice, and she was the vaunted feminist and veteran music critic in house. Researching my 1992 Voice story “The Feminine Critique,” I was amazed by her reviews I found in old issues of The New Yorker, and very nervous when I interviewed her. Two decades later, those essays floored me all over again when I read them in the new anthology Out of the Vinyl Deeps, which I reviewed for the New York Times Book Review.