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Well, it's not all female artists, just some of them. Second, noone ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American / Canadian / world public.

If you asked her why she was dressing like a slut, and why it seemed like she was objectifying women, she'd probably double-speak at you about how her "choice" to dress that way actually empowers women. Yeah, right...

I think what concerns me about the way she dresses is not so much that she's portraying herself as an object, but that young(er) female artists (and fans) will think they have to dress this way to get noticed/attention/signed.



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Originally posted by bradm:

If you asked her why she was dressing like a slut, and why it seemed like she was objectifying women, she'd probably double-speak at you about how her "choice" to dress that way actually
women. Yeah, right...

Definitely right Brad, but you're always gonna have that to some extent. And occasionally it's even true - arguably when Madonna did the Sex book and all the crazy concert shit that went along with that tour, it was in some ways a great thing for women's empowerment. Certainly it's the exception to the rule, but it does exist.

Personally, I think you're always gonna have certain people using what they can use to get ahead in any business, in the entertainment business it's just a bit more blatant 'cus you're out in front of the crowd as a matter of course. Hell, men use their sexuality to get ahead in music as well, (look at your Ricky Martins or any of those dudes) it's just a little less extreme 'cus women generally don't react in as pig-like a fashion to men dressing super-skimpy. But if it was gonna get them ahead, there's someone who would have showed up to the Grammy's last night in a Speedo, be sure of it!

I think the up-side of the music business is that you're gonna have folks (women and men) who are getting by on their musical talent exclusively (or at least primarily). That's why women who (may or may not be totally beautiful but) are actually musically talented can do well. Lauren Hill, Bjork & Ani spring to mind - personally I find all three totally attractive, each in their own way, but they don't abuse it the way these sugar-pop stars to get ahead 'cus it's not what they're selling. The ones that are selling that, well I'm generally not listening to them myself and a doubt many of the folks that hang around here are either.

- M.

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Heaven forbid I say this, but sometimes it's nice to feel sexy and to be treated if you're sexy. It's also nice to be treated like you deserve someone's attention (hopefully in a positive way). This is doubly true for those of us that are older and more world-weary than the rest of the gang.

It's not the way she portrays herself that bothers me--if she wants to carrry herself like a tramp, so be it. Go ahead, live life large, strain a few eyeballs, then go home and put on a pair of pink fuzzy slippers. No, I'm saddened by the fact that the stereotypical definition of feminine beauty is so narrow and so extreme, especially at a time when our accessibility to the media is so overwhelming. We have so many options, so much to choose from, so much to experience, yet we gravitate to *that*.

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paisley from Willy's :

November 5, 1997

Marcia Ann Gillespie

Editor in Chief

Ms. Magazine

135 W. 50th Street

16th Floor

New York, NY 10020

So I'm poring through the 25th anniversary issue of Ms. (on some

airplane going somewhere in the amorphous blur that amounts to my

life) and I'm finding it endlessly enlightening and stimulating as

always, when, whaddaya know, I come across a little picture of little

me. I was flattered to be included in that issue's "21 feminists for

the 21st century" thingybob. I think ya'll are runnin the most bold

and babe-olishious magazine around, after all.

Problem is, I couldn't help but be a little weirded out by the

paragraph next to my head that summed up her me-ness and my

relationship to the feminist continuum. What got me was that it

largely detailed my financial successes and sales statistics. My

achievements were represented by the fact that I "make more money per

album sold than Hootie and the Blowfish," and that my catalogue sales

exceed 3/4 of a million. It was specified that I don't just have my

own record company but my own "profitable" record company. Still, the

ironic conclusion of the aforementioned blurb is a quote from me

insisting "it's not about the money." Why then, I ask myself, must

"the money" be the focus of so much of the media that surrounds me?

Why can't I escape it, even in the hallowed pages of Ms.?

Firstly, this "Hootie and the Blowfish" business was not my

doing. The LA Times financial section wrote an article about my record

label, Righteous Babe Records, in which they raved about the business

savvy of a singer (me) who thwarted the corporate overhead by choosing

to remain independent, thereby pocketing $4.25 per unit, as opposed to

the $1.25 made by Hootie or the $2.00 made by Michael Jackson. This

story was then picked up and reprinted by The New York Times, Forbes

magazine, the Financial News Network, and (lo and behold) Ms.

So here I am, publicly morphing into some kinda Fortune

500-young-entrepreneur-from-hell, and all along I thought I was just a

folksinger !

Ok, it's true. I do make a much larger profit (percentage-wise)

than the Hootster. What's even more astounding is that there are

thousands of musicians out there who make an even higher profit

percentage than me! How many local, musicians are there in your

community who play gigs in bars and coffee shops about town? I bet

lots of them have made cassettes or CDS which they'll happily sell to

you with a personal smile from the edge of the stage or back at the

bar after their set. Would you believe these shrewd, profit-minded

wheeler-dealers are pocketing a whopping _100%_ of the profits on the

sales of those puppies?! Wait till the Financial News Network gets a

whiff of _them_!

I sell approximately 2.5% of the albums that a Joan Jewelanis

Morrisette sells and get about .05% of the airplay royalties, so

obviously if it all comes down to dollars and cents, I've led a wholly

unremarkable life. Yet I choose relative statistical mediocrity over

fame and fortune because I have a bigger purpose in mind. Imagine how

strange it must be for a girl who has spent 10 years fighting as hard

as she could against the lure of the corporate carrot and the almighty

forces of capital, only to be eventually recognized by the power

structure as a business pioneer.

I have indeed sold enough records to open a small office on the

half-abandoned main street in the dilapidated urban center of my

hometown, Buffalo, N.Y. I am able to hire 15 or so folks to run and

constantly reinvent the place while I drive around and play music for

people. I am able to give stimulating business to local printers and

manufacturers and to employ the services of independent distributors,

promoters, booking agents and publicists. I was able to quit my day

job and devote myself to what I love.

And yes, we are enjoying modest profits these days, affording us

the opportunity to reinvest in innumerable political and artistic

endeavors. RBR is no Warner Bros. But it is a going concern, and for

me, it is a vehicle for redefining the relationship between art and

commerce in my own life. It is a record company which is the product

not just of my own imagination, but that of my friend and manager Scot

Fisher and of all the people who work there. People who incorporate

and coordinate politics, art and media every day into a

people-friendly, sub-corporate, woman-informed, queer-happy small

business that puts music before rock stardom and ideology before


And me. I'm just a folksinger, not an entrepreneur. My hope is

that my music and poetry will be enjoyable and/or meaningful to

someone, somewhere, not that I maximize my profit margins. It was 15

years and 11 albums getting to this place of notoriety and, if

anything, I think I was happier way back when. Not that I regret any

of my decisions, mind you. I'm glad I didn't sign on to the corporate

army. I mourn the commodification and homogenization of music by the

music industry, and I fear the manufacture of consent by the

corporately-controlled media. Last thing I want to do is feed the


I was recently mortified while waiting in the dressing room

before one of my own shows. Some putz suddenly takes the stage to

announce me and exclaim excitedly that this was my "largest sold-out

crowd to date!" "Oh, really?," I'm thinking to myself, "that's

interesting...too bad it's not the point." All of my achievements are

artistic, as are all of my failures.

That's just the way I see it. Statistical plateau or no. I'll

bust ass for 60 people, or 6,000, watch me.

I have so much respect for Ms. magazine. If I couldn't pick it

up at newsstands my brain probably would've atrophied by now on some

trans-Atlantic flight and I would be lying limp and twitchy in a bed

of constant travel, staring blankly into the abyss of the gossip

magazines. Ms. is a structure of media wherein women are able to

define themselves, and articulate for themselves those definitions.

We wouldn't point to 21 of the feminists moving into the 21st century

and define them in terms of "Here's Becky Ballbuster from Iowa City,

she's got a great ass and a cute little button nose..." No ma'am.

We've gone beyond the limited perceptions of sexism and so we should

move beyond the language and perspective of the corporate patriarchy.

The Financial News Network may be ultimately impressed with me now

that I've proven to them that there's a life beyond the auspices of

papa Sony, but do I really have to prove this to _you_?

We have the ability and the opportunity to recognize women not

just for the financial successes of their work but for the work

itself. We have the facility to judge each other by entirely

different criteria than those is imposed upon us by the superstructure

of society. We have a view which reaches beyond profit margins into

poetry, and a vocabulary to articulate the difference.

Thanks for including me, Ms., really. But just promise me one

thing; if I drop dead tomorrow, tell me my grave stone won't read:

ani d.


Please let it read:





-Ani DiFranco

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