Nobody Cares About Your Boner – Volume One

Thurston Moore is old and ugly.

Wow, that was really, super mean!  What the hell did Thurston Moore do to deserve that?

Oh, I don’t know, what did Kim Gordon do to make 99% of dewdz immediately tell me how old and ugly they think she is anytime the subject of Sonic Youth has ever come up in the past 25 years?

It’s not as if it’s served up like a casual observation, either.  It’s as if the words can’t escape their mouths fast enough.  Like if they don’t tell me their unsolicited opinion on the lack of their boner movement when looking at Kim Gordon, the world will die and fire will rain down on the universe.  I mean, I have to assume the stakes are that high, because it is literally the first thing they say about the band.  The first!

Any time this has ever happened to me in conversation, I like to take a few different approaches with my response to see what sticks, and for general fun-sies, because apparently I enjoy the feeling of my blood pressure shooting up like a bottle rocket.

First I try the mental “ignore” button, which never, ever works.  They just keep blathering on with “I mean, am I right?”, “I don’t think she’s hot”, “I think she’s old”, or “I think she looks like Iggy Pop” – which is deliciously ironic – because these are always the same men who fucking worship Iggy Pop.

Second, I try logic, and tell them that nobody cares about whether someone personally gives them a boner, why is it only the women in bands who get subjected to their comments on physical appearance, and that Kim Gordon is a gorgeous example of humanity in every way, and that they need to shut up because nobody cares about your boner.  This is usually met with being called a “bitch” or some such other nonsense that men say to women when they realize they’re being rightly called out for their shitty behavior, because apparently a lot of men are sensitive and emotional as shit.

Then, finally, I try the “over the top” response, which is when I take it waaaay too far in the direction they’re going, and say that I couldn’t agree more with their assessment about Kim Gordon, and that she should be banned from music, have wood and rocks thrown at her every time she appears in public, get locked into a windowless room the rest of the time so men’s boners don’t have to ever look at her again, and eventually be frozen into carbonite like Han Solo for her inability to inspire shitty dewdz to wank it to her.  It’s only fair.  It’s the only solution that makes sense.  I find that one usually shuts them up, so feel free to use it anytime, btw.

For the record, and it really goes without saying, I think Kim Gordon is fucking awesome.  She is the real artist of that band.  She is the crown jewel of that band.  She is a pioneer for women in music, fashion, and art.  Without her, Sonic Youth would have been about as avant garde and groundbreaking as John Cafferty and the Beaver Fucking Brown Band.  (No offense, John Cafferty, as I am a lifelong fan of Eddie and The Cruisers, but your band ain’t breaking any boundaries there, and I think we both know it.)

And while we’re on the subject of women in bands, let’s shift to the other side of the coin, where dudes are actually okay with how a woman looks (prize!), but if they don’t think her technical skills are on par with some relentless, theory-driven blowbag like Dave Mustaine, she must quit music immediately and go start making sandwiches.

I mean, please, by all means, when I tell you that I like The White Stripes, please immediately volunteer your opinion to me about how shitty a drummer you think Meg White is.  There’s one I certainly haven’t heard before! (I have heard this no less than fifty times in my life.)  I assume your boner is at least okay with her appearance, or else that would be the first thing you would tell me about her, so I guess she dodged a bullet there!

Oh, by the way, you know who else is a shitty drummer?  Most garage band drummers, and no, I’m not providing you with a list of citations.  That’s kind of the appeal of a band that operates under a stripped-down format – the “not-fancy” drumming. Go ahead, drop some super technical player like the drummer from Rush onto any White Stripes album and tell me the songs are better off for it.  You know all that was missing that whole time was a double kick-drum and an extra thirty-five cymbals!  Who doesn’t want to hear rototoms on “The Hardest Button to Button”?!

And since we’re on the subject of musical skill, seeing as that’s your only criteria for kicking Meg White out of The White Stripes, Jack White has a unique voice that is well-suited to his genre, but it may not be the most traditionally skillful singing voice in the world, so he should be replaced with a much more skillful singer.  Don’t you think?  How about that opera guy, Andrea Bocelli?

Introducing Andrea Bocelli and the drummer from Rush!  Ladies and gentlemen – this is The White Stripes!

Now, look at that!  You have created the perfect band.  With that level of skill among the players, nobody’s talent can be called into question, that’s for sure!

You cannot win as a woman in music.  You can.  Not.  You can’t win because they don’t want you to win.  The game is specifically designed so that you do not get to win, no matter how hard you try to play the game.

The game where if you’re pretty enough, then they’re okay with you, but why aren’t you as skilled on your instrument as Yo Yo Ma is on the cello?

The same game where if you’re talented enough, then they’re okay with you, but why aren’t you hotter?

The same game where if you’re pretty enough and talented enough, they call you a whore who slept her way to the top, or a frigid bitch for not sleeping with them, or whatever else they call women who get too big for their britches.

She’s only famous because she’s hot.

She’s only famous because her parents are rich.

She’s only famous because she’s dating some famous guy.

She’s only famous because some producer guy writes all her songs.

She’s only famous because she writes her own songs, but OMG her songs are so shitty, right?!

She’s only famous because girls are never the drummer.

She’s only.

She’s only.

She’s only.

She’s only.

Every “only” is meant to reduce you, until you’ve shrunk so small that you disappear.

There are one million conditions we have to meet as women to “win” in the music business, but here’s a little secret: Even if we met all one million conditions, there would be a million more to meet that we were never even told about.  We’ve been led to believe that if we do exactly the right things in exactly the right order, then they’ll be cool with us, but that’s a lie.  It’s a goddamned lie.

The only way we can win is by not playing their game.  By not caring what they think.  By giving our dollars, our time, our attention, and our energy to women artists.  By lifting each other up.  By making our own game, and telling them to take their game and go shove it.

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