, who is the fucking most bombdiggity bomb of all bombs, wrote this in her journal yesterday or two days ago or something (I am a bit behind):
I am so pissed that we live in a patriarchal society wherein music
made by of and for cool women is marginalized and denied from the
entire population at large.
Her quote rolls entirely with something I have privately been stewing over for years, and in the past month have become so overwhelmed by it that when I read a certain historical tidbit about a woman named Susan Griffin in Ruth Rosen\’s The World Split Open, I finally figured out a way I can do a little something about it. Think globally, act locally, and since it has really been pissing me off locally of late, that seems like a good approach.
The following is an idea I\’ve been rolling around in my head the past few weeks, inspired by Susan Griffin\’s actions. The following is a rough draft, scratched out at Marx after talking to Astrid last week. I have started talking to people, so this really is a \’we;\’ I am not just talking big to sound good.
I present to you the working idea for Radio Free Women:
In the summer of 1970, five women overtook a Californian radio station in the name of female inclusion. There were no programs by or for women. Women\’s news was tokenized and delegated into short segments on fashion, parenting — domestic issues. Radio Free Women anonymously took over the airwaves at KPFA in Berkeley, declaring themselves dedicated \”to giving women at home, isolated from society, knowledge and contact with their sisters.\”
They left a list of demands — more programs by and for women — signed the document with the names Rosa Luxemburg, Sarah Grimke, Susan B. Anthony, and Emma Goldman, then left the station in a storm, leaving the public and the broadcasters flabbergasted. Other media immediately caught on to the story, and KPFA buckled to the requests and began producing shows on women\’s history, poetry, literature, music, news, and public affairs.
The women\’s programming immediately became immensely popular, proving that there was a niche and a more than willing audience. The popularity of this move among listeners soon inspired other stations across the country to follow suit with their own programming. Radio Free Women was the catalyst that changed the airwaves, forever making radio programmers see that women are a viable listening audience with interesting subject matter to be produced with them in mind.
We aim none so high.
We see around us a music community that is almost exclusively created by and is catering toward men. The female run nights in the city are tokenized and seen as commodities. At these women-run events, as well as at other nights in the city, female artists are still shamelessly overlooked on the playlists, compromising less than 20% (exact number from the past month to come soon) of the music heard. Where are the songs by women?
Here in the twenty-first century, women have now proved that they are just as capable of making music as interesting, important and well-crafted as men are. One need only look at the past year for proof of this, and yet female artists are still highly under represented and overlooked.
We believe hearing music equally represented by both genders should be of interest to all people, regardless of their gender identification. 20% is no longer acceptable. Why play the same songs by the same male artists over and over again when there is so much good female created music out there? Why indeed. We could answer that, but instead, we will be the answer to that.
Radio Free Women, like our foremothers in 1970, are taking a stand for the inclusion of female made music.
We are coming together to create a female organized and run dj night in DC, one that will focus on what we consider to be good, underexposed music by talented female music makers, as well as their male contemporaries. Our focus, however, will primarily be on the music by women. Whereas in the rest of the city the playlists are 80/20 in favor of the men, we hope to be at least 70/30 in favor of the women. Male artists will not be disregarded.
Our djs are assuming the names of women activists and agitators from the past, in order to work anonymously. Through our anonymity we hope to drop egos and pre-conceived notions of established repertoires to make available a wide variety of good, diverse music, with the focus on female artists. Though we have a core group of rotating djs we will also frequently have anonymous guest agitators, specially invited by us because they have shown a true knowledge, interest, and support of female-created music.
Our goal is to give exposure to the often overlooked and under appreciated women of the music world. We would like to see these artists played along side their male peers in other locations through out the city, and with greater frequency. We believe we can prove that it is just as enjoyable to listen to female-made music as it is male, and in doing so we hope that other nights in the city will follow suit and start to feature more music by female artists.
Radio Free Women: some boys just don\’t understand that some girls do it pretty good
we\’ll play every night till we can\’t play no more
we\’re not like you guys — your whole life\’s a bore
some boys can\’t get into their heads that some girls do it pretty good
if you wanna hear real music then come to our show
once you\’re watching you won\’t let go
maybe it\’s because we\’re the best in town
we can take you high when you\’re going down
And if you know who wrote that song, you will brighten my day considerably. (Yes, I know who wrote it, but I like seeing other people who know it, too. The popularization of good music makes me happy. I will post the writer(s) in a few days.)
I have been talking about getting back into music again — really getting back into it — for a while now. I have told a few people what I really meant by that. My gift to myself with my retroactive check is getting myself a new set of mid-quality turntables and a low-end mixer.
I met this awesome guy at Tower in Rockville when I was buying the new issue of Grooves and found an S.I. Futures 12\” and the Streets \”Let\’s Push Things Forward\” CD single with the instrumental version as well. While I was checking out, the clerk said I had made excellent selections. He told me how he had just laid out $400 on vinyl last week because he was a dj, too, (fancy that, a dj working at Tower), and worked entirely with instrumentals. He had not heard the instrumental of \”Let\’s Push Things Forward\” yet, and said he would have to check into that, as he was really into what Mike Skinner was doing with \”that UK hip hop groove.\”
As he was packing me up he asked me if I spin \”because we need more female djs,\” then he went off on this long tirade about how hard it was for women to make it and how intimidated they felt. Well no fucking shit, dude. I look at Apple and Christine Moritz, and how horribly the men in this city trash talk them and their skills behind the women\’s backs — and that includes their male dj peers — and it makes me want to vomit. It makes me want to run and hide and never go anywhere near a set of decks again. But fuck that, fuck that hardcore. God damn it.
I will write about my rage on this topic another time. At any rate, this guy at Tower told me to come back and he would hook me up with some info and help me out and dust me off and help me get going again. Because DC needs more female djs, especially ones who can actually fucking beat match, er, not that there is anything wrong with not beat matching, but I have never necessarily thought that just crossfading from one dissimilar song to another was a skill. Anyone with a steady hand and a bit of an ego can do it, and many do.
Yeah. So when people have been on my case the past month or so going \”Cassandra, we never see you anymore, you don\’t write in your journal anymore, you don\’t respond to e-mails, you don\’t call, you don\’t go out, what the fuck is going on?\” well here is the fucking thing, folks:
a) for three of those weeks I was sick off my ass and spent most of it knocked out on sleeping pills and painkillers or at physical therapy,
b) I had a term paper and two essays to write, and a final to take,
c) I have been trying to work on the conference, which is quickly approaching and I am falling behind schedule on,
d) I have been working on the above fucking monster — not the manifesto, but going over my music collection, figuring out what I have and what I need to get that I used to have and would need again and what I never had and would need to get in the first place. Researching music that I have fallen behind on or never knew that much about in the first place. Talking to other women with similar passions and points of view on this subject. Making CDs to get people interested. Just busting my ass in general.
I am fucking trying I really am, so I am sorry if I am not meeting your needs, but I have mine that I have to meet, too. Last night was the first night in four days that I was able to see anyone I knew other than my doctors and my family, and that fourth day had been a two hour long conference meeting. Prior to that I had not seen anyone since the prior Friday night, where I literally collapsed in the middle of my group of friends because I was so sick. So please, lay the fuck off. I am trying, and I will try to get to everyone\’s everything this week, in between everything else I need to do. Thank you.
Radio Free Women, and the other trick I have up my sleeve that W and I are taking on, are going to put me in the fucking hospital, because I do not know how to take care of myself. When am I gonna learn, digeridoo? Yeah, another fucking music reference. I think I need to go to bed.