Saturday, 13 October 2012
“I’m Holding Out for a Hero” by Bonnie Tyler (1984)
“Self Control” by Laura Branigan (1984)
In retrospect the ‘80’s looks all carefree and colorful, but it was likely still difficult for female artists. Things were still not as progressive as maybe one might think. Were they bimbette airheads? Or, under the multi-colored ultra-teased hair, leg warmers and spandex were they artists?
Where were all the pioneering women of rock and what had they accomplished? The forgotten singer-songwriters like Joni Mitchell and Carole King soldiered on in ‘80s – very much out of style. How things had changed - so much but so little.
MTV drove a male definition of what feminism should have been in the 1980’s. MTV drove fantasy, not reality. Who needs that? Capitalizing on the appearance of female artists like Pat Benatar, Kate Bush, and Deborah Harry of Blondie was standard for record companies in the early ‘80’s. Sex symbols were alive and well – it sold records. Would Big Mama Thornton who died alone and impoverished in 1984 tell them not to do it? No Mam!
Like Lena Lovich1 and Souxsie Sioux (the Banshees) from the punk movement of the late ‘70’s it was trendy for women to be exclusively singers – it was hard to drum and strut around in a video in the latest fashions. They were to appear wandering down the street or rolling on a bed not playing a guitar like would later happen in the ‘80’s.
Was the pop song “Watch Her Strut” by Sheena Easton a response to Prince who she once dated? Some women embraced the use of their femininity. Did Deborah Harry know what she was doing? Damn right she did.