Tag Archives: Rock She Wrote

And “The Feminine Critique”!

In my list of articles I was blessed to write for the late, great Village Voice, I forgot to include perhaps the most significant: “The Feminine Critique”: the not-so-secret history of women rock critics that reclaimed the legacies of Ellen Willis, Karen Durbin, Jaan Uhelszki, Carola Dibbell, Donna Gaines, and many others and that became the basis of my first book, Rock She Wrote, coedited by Ann Powers. That article also obliquely pointed out one of the failures of the Voice as well, which at that point in its already long career, had not had a female music editor. I now teach a class called The Feminist Critique.
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Jessica Hopper on “Golden” Girl Critics

“There’s been a lot of discussion about the title—in part because I wanted it to be provocative, I wanted there to be a conversation because there are dozens of women who should have collections by now and the roadblocks and arguments about why those books seemingly cannot exist are ridiculous. We are in a golden age for women in cultural criticism right now, but we are told again and again that somehow, we don’t meet the criteria of publishable. That only Chuck Klosterman gets to be in the clubhouse. And that was and is frustrating”

I love this quote from Jessica Hopper in the current issue of Pop Matters, in an interview by the wonderful David Chiu. She’s talking about her book The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic, of course. I also noticed for the first time today that six years ago, Jesssica wrote a great comment about Rock She Wrote (which David also nicely shouts out in this story) for Amazon. It’s still up. (Though please don’t purchase that Plexus edition of the book; it’s an illegal import. Buy a used one from a mom and pop bookstore instead, please. And yes, we are trying to get it back into print.)

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“The Feminine Critique” #TBT

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.

Feminine Critique

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RSW in NYT

Dwight Garner nicely cites Rock She Wrote — even quoting Karen Durbin from my “The Feminine Critique” intro — in his New York Times review of Jessica Hopper’s book. You know, maybe it’s time for Ann Powers and I to put this collection back into print ….

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Books on Women in Music

I just stumbled across this shoutout NPR critic Ann Powers gave to Queens of Noise for NYC’s Soundcheck program in her list of books about women in music. Of course, she may be biased: We did edit Rock She Wrote together.

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“Musical Gender Gap”

In 1985 I was a junior at Brown University, and already, I was aware of the rockcrit chauvinist establishment. I don’t actually remember my feminist consciousness being so raised, but recently, I received documentary evidence. In an application for an internship at the Providence Journal, I wrote, “My experience has taught me that it is very difficult to break into any aspect of the music business, particularly for a woman.” Tony Lioce, the Pro Jo‘s former music critic, recently sent me a copy of this application (I can’t believe he’s been carting it around all these years)! I got the job, and in fact, Lioce and other editors at the ProJo were extremely helpful in my effort to get “a foothold in bridging the musical gender gap.”

Check out the application here — you can see the seedlings of “The Feminine Critique” and Rock She Wrote:

Pro Jo application

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