Dig me out *
Discourses on popular music, gender and ethnicity
A DVD-publication edited my María José Belbel and Rosa Reitsamer, funded by Arteleku (Diputación de Gipuzkoa, Donostia/San Sebastian, Basque Country)
Popular music expresses our deepest wishes and political flights, our imaginary bright sides of life. It is a token of love, of post/adolescent wishes, of possible sexualities and genders. It's functions as a field of research and as a ground for feminist and anti-racist networking.
Starting with the idea that music is not a single issue theme but rather a field for expressing diverse interests, wishes and dreams, that music intersects with other artistic practices to which it is closely linked - performance, dance, visual arts, fashion, poetry - the dvd DIG ME OUT. Discourses on popular music, gender and ethnicity encompasses different perspectives of musicians, journalists, activists and theoreticians that challenge gender normativity, racism, homo- and transphobia in popular music. These mechanisms of inclusion and exclusion are all deeply embedded in globalized music industry where 75 percent of global market share is hold by four major music companies while the vast majority of musicians and performers from the global south lack direct access to those rich markets.
Since the 1970s by the latest it seems obvious that female musicians face a variety of contortions and obstacles in order to perform. The experience of being excluded from the subcultures and music scenes as musicians, although being included as consumers, has since then prompted women, lesbians, queers to found bands and record labels, to develop networking structures such as female music festivals and fanzines and to organise parties and club nights to drift away from everyday life of socially policed and fixed gender roles, from boring boredom.
Since these very first offshoots took place new powerful actors have became visible with Punk, HipHop and electronic club music that allow us to critically rethink the conception of subculture as a white, heterosexual youth culture phenomenon. Female HipHop bands, Riot grrrl movement, dyke subcultures, Ladyfest and the radical ethos of the zine culture developed throughout the 1990s circulated soon after to western, eastern, southern and northern parts of the world. And although globalized pop images on so called "ideal" femininity and masculinity are penetrating nearly any public and private sphere, new media technologies are used as tools to develop cultural, musical, political practices and strategies to challenge the hegemonic social and cultural order.
According to bell hooks writing and performing should deepen the meaning of words, should illuminate, transfix and transform. Taking this sentence seriously means to push forward a sophisticated notion of radical political consciousness in the field of popular music under post-fordist living conditions. Therefore, it is necessary to enlarge productive spaces where different traditions of feminist, lesbian and queer performers are acknowledged, conceptions of white western womanhood in popular music are called into question and feminist heritage becomes visible. Our aim is to strengthen feminist, anti-racist and intergenerational networking structures as well emancipatory strategies across national border regions to establish and support real, symbolic and virtual spaces for collective agencies.
The DVD includes contributions from different parts of western and eastern societies, with a main focus on fe_male musicians and performance artists from different Spanish regions and nationalities.
There are so many outstanding musicians, performers, writers, theoreticians and visuals artists "out there" and it was a great pleasure to bring together few of them on this DVD.
Enjoy listening, watching and reading. María José Belbel
and Rosa Reitsamer
* Sleater Kinney