Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Things suck for women and culture now, at least according to Carlene Bauer at Salon, who uses Sleater-Kinney's break-up to reflect on what she sees as "the end of an era."

I've been listening to music and going to shows for more than half a lifetime now, watching indie rock devolve into backward-looking, fashion-damaged pop, while the culture grows ever more unwilling to admit feminism did anything but give women delusion, heartbreak and resentment. In this blue moment for indie rock fans and feminists alike, I need to pay my respects to three women whose noise never sounded like anyone else's and kept getting louder and larger the older they got....I need to be reminded that my peers and friends are living correctives to those who believe that it's useless to free yourself from the bonds of biology, history and society, and that you can indeed live a life according to principles that pundits with nannies want to make you believe are quaint unworkable utopian relics of the '60s and '70s. I need to watch three women issue a billowing cloud of noise and in doing so defiantly redefine what it means to be female and an adult.

I know what she means, but is it really as bad as all that? The first time I saw Le Tigre play live, I was really struck by this feeling that we were in a great and shining moment for awesome feminist punk, that things were really happening. There's maybe less of this now, even a few short years later. But that doesn't mean there's nothing. Just because the world is falling to pieces - which it is - doesn't mean there isn't still amazing stuff going on. It's too easy to be mopey and nostagic about riot grrrl. And let's not heap all the burden of keeping this golden ideal of momentum alive on Sleater-Kinney. Seriously. They are one band - a brilliant, amazing band, and probably my most favorite - but they are not the only kick ass feminist rock band. The best, maybe, but not the only.

And just when we need to wage war against the right wing, we're also losing a soundtrack to that fight. Which means that the '90s are officially over, and it might be a while before there's another comparable surge of challenging, exhilarating female voices. Exit Sleater-Kinney.

Come on. Our fight still has a soundtrack, too long and too good to burn a representative song from each band onto a CD. Does the end of Sleater-Kinney suck? Hell yes. Is it the end of the world? No. Not even necessarily the end of an era (though people manage to claim that about pretty much everything).

No comments: