Monday, July 23, 2012

More than a Woman: To the Woman Who Got Me into Music

C.L.A.P. is proud to introduce our third blog column, "More than a Woman" by Shieva Salehnia. As Shieva states:

“More than a Woman” is music-oriented writing from a self-identified female perspective. It seeks to present woman as subject and object, artist and promoter, appreciator and creator. It’s also about sweet music made by and for sweet ladies.

A big thanks to Shieva, Ryn and Karoline for their contributions! We can't wait to see what more they have in store for us! If you have an idea that you think would be great for the C.L.A.P. blog (or zine!), contact us at! We'd love to have you!

To the Woman Who Got Me into Music By: Shieva Salehnia

I dislike women sometimes. More specifically, I dislike female musicians. More than the musicians themselves, I dislike the characteristics many females personify and are accepted by a large audience because of.

Some women musicians are innocent children, whiny cherubs, prepubescent warblers with snot plugging their noses. They sing high and nasally, like no one ever told them to open their airways, or taught them how to open their throats.

Some play into the innocent thing a little too much, pulling in a crowd of 30-something year old men that would love to bang a high schooler but can’t get over the negative social connotation and legal repercussions. Robbing the cradle is easy when the girl’s legal.

I have a lot of opinions about music because of my older sister Sonya. She’s four years older than I am, and a million years more experienced in certain fields of music knowledge and appreciation.

When we were kids, I remember her listening to and adoring Green Day. She was just old enough to feel the sad pangs of their selling out to MTV and major labels. Success was a dirty word, Sonya taught me.

I learned from her outcast callousness, and her “tomboy” attitude and dress. She wore her hair short in high school, combining oversized t-shirts and combat boots. Kids asked if she was a lesbian and called her a freak. By the time she was a senior, the most popular girl in school told her she admired my sister’s ability to not give a fuck.

When I tried to take in her punk rock footsteps, I failed miserably by her standards. My favorite pop punk bands and my cheery disposition weren’t badass enough for her. Looking back I wasn’t badass. I was lost. But we all get lost sometimes. How else are we going to find ourselves?

While entering my preadolescent chrysalis to one day emerge as a butterfly, my sister was falling deeper in love with Kurt Cobain, Fugazi and The Dwarves. She convinced my parents to take her to concerts in the cities, and worried about things like having her period at a show and getting trampled by mosh-pitting dudes.

I was never really into going to shows where the music warranted moshing or skanking, but loved the music from afar. At 13, I was still too young to know the power of a great live set, to seek the euphoria of seeing my favorite bands play in person. Dancing to music on CD brought me more joy than I could have imagined. My awareness of things called “music scenes” was non-existent. I was a lamb in the woods, strutting along to Weezer and Sarah McLachlan.

The older I’ve grown, the more I’ve come to appreciate my sister’s experiences and fuck-off attitude about music. New Found Glory? *scoff* *eye roll* Pop music is stupid.

My intake of musical varieties is greater in breadth than hers, but no one matches her knowledge of 80’s and 90’s punk. She dabbled in grunge, hardcore, and 60’s and 70’s punk, but I still could beat her in a war of words over R&B, country, rap, and the nuances of every Bob Dylan era.

Her tastes overlap with mine: we both dig the Velvet Underground (although I do more than she does), David Bowie (Who doesn’t dig David Bowie?) and surprisingly, the Red Hot Chili Peppers. (Disclosure: I don’t know how much she actually digs them, but I do still have a CD copy of “By The Way” I stole from her. Good album: I’m not really into them either.)

Our mutual love for vintage clothes has kept us discussing something in those moments when my love for Prince and Lady Gaga doesn’t cut it as fodder for conversation.

Passing on a lack of sympathy for the musically daft, Sonya’s self-righteousness shines through me if I’ve had a few drinks –although I’ve recently started to control that.

Perhaps that all-knowing mentality is what makes me so critical of female musicians. It saddens me that they don’t know better. I feel like they should, simply because they’re women. They should understand that it took a lot for us to even get our voices heard in the conversation, and that we should use that platform for something more than acting –a and singing –like children.

Maybe that’s just me projecting my fear that no one will take my creativity seriously because I’m a woman. Needlepoint and quilting are fine as along as I’ve finished my chores and taken care of the kids first. I can be famous as long as I’m sexy, as long as I play into some weird, perverted stereotype men want to see on stage and are willing to pay the money to see.

More than a woman, I’m a musician and an appreciator of music. My sister taught me that. She’s more than a woman to me.

No comments:

Post a Comment