NPR

Beyond Representation: In Music And Media, Gender Equality Will Take A Revolution

The revolution necessary to honor artists of all genders has to combat not only a history of bias, but sometimes even the institutions that seem to be supporting the fight.
To change culture for the better, those of us with the power to curate new canons must be as critical of our own histories and perspectives as we are of others'. Source: Miguel Medina

For decades now, mainstream conversations about gender in music have moved relatively slowly, tilling the same ground over and over until it turns fallow. It once felt like rolling a boulder uphill to even get most cis female musicians recognized as musical talents with the depth and breadth of their male counterparts, and it's not like this challenge has been completely obliterated; the sexist structures of both the mainstream music industry and the underground scenes that parallel it are still intact, if somewhat altered by feminist incursions.

Projects like Turning the Tables, in their rewriting of the canon — the creation of a list of the last year and by women and non-binary artists who emerged in the 21st century—are, fundamentally, feminist history work. As , the impetus for feminist history projects was that "women have been absent from history — that absence, trace this impulse to second-wave feminism, or the Women's Liberation Movement, and it is an important one. Without it, our understanding of what constitutes worthwhile cultural work is fundamentally different. Who makes the work, where do their perspectives come from, and why? Who curates the work? Who draws the lines of history? Matthews was as critical of how such projects are conceived as she was celebratory back in the '80s.

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