A friend of mine in comedy and music dislikes when promoters put together all-female shows and try to sell them that way. To her, it’s a marginalizing gesture, implying that there’s something aberrational about female comics, for example – like, why not just ‘comics’? Why the qualifier? I’d never thought about it that way, but I totally agree.
Strangely, though, I still feel that Lilith Fair’s all-female lineup is essential. It’s more inspiring to me personally, even though I totally idolize male artists as well (hello, Grant-Lee Phillips and Michael Penn!). Also, I’m generalizing, but I think women can be really competitive – especially because often, we’re forced by others to compete (I refer back to the Tori vs. Sarah story I shared the other day). I try to remind myself all the time that another woman’s success is not my failure. Seeing women at the top of their game like the Indigo Girls, Sarah McLachlan, Bonnie Raitt, Tracy Chapman, etc. all on the same stage back in ’97 and ’98 really convinced me that women can achieve more working with instead of against each other.
There’s also a message of empowerment inherent to Lilith that draws from its female source. Back to an article I quoted in my first blog, “Despite the fact that Beyoncé and Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift and Rihanna are all making waves in pop, they’re mostly still singing about men, singing to men, or titillating men. A place where women sing for themselves and to other women is a feminist act…” And the incredible Ann Powers will always say it better than I do, so I leave you with a link to a recent NPR interview with her that I think you’ll enjoy. Says Ann, warming my lil’ heart, “We have to remember and always reiterate our values, to say it right out: ‘I am a feminist.’”