Alanis Morissette Writes A Powerful Essay On Why Feminism Needs A Revolution

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You outta know…that Alanis Morissette is a feminist (see what I did there?). But she is not just any feminist, she is determined to see a revolution in the movement in order for it to be more powerful in the 21st century. We’re all pretty familiar with the term being very polarizing these days. Many claim there is “no need” for a movement that advocates for the social, political an economic equality of all genders.

Others, however, see there is still a growing and vital need for it. Intersectionality has become a massive focus for the modern movement, because issues relating to race and the LGBTQ community are being championed in many ways by feminism. Nevertheless, there is much work to be done to reach complete gender equality, and for the term to stop being such a polarizing issue.

In a powerful essay for Time magazine, Alanis says she considers it an honor to be a feminist, and that the concept of feminism is a “mandatory link in a chain toward wholeness, cohesion, maturation and functionality.”

“I do believe, however, that the definition of feminism needs some refocusing, redefining and updating for this modern time, and for this new generation, and that the movement deserves a reorienting, intentionality and re-envisioning for what is possible and how to get there. We need a revolution to the feminist revolution. And it needs to be brought to the fore of our awareness in order to heal what ails our times on this planet,” she begins.

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The majority of the feminist movement’s existence has primarily been about breaking down the power of the damage inflicted by patriarchy, and often forces the feminine energy that has emerged from this movement to adhere to the structures of the patriarchal movement, rather than dismantling and starting a whole new perspective on power.

“The patriarchy has always seemed an ignorant and emotionally immature purgatory at best, and, at worst, a despair-filled holding pattern carefully held together by resistance, hate, hostility and separatism—the cost of which is felt across every area of life, in women and men alike…Patriarchy may afford a false sense of power afforded to those who keep the hate in place, but that power is temporary and false, and it will never yield the peace and well-being that is not only possible but is every person’s birthright. The water of what is possible…by embracing the feminine still rushes powerfully as the dam of patriarchy stays willfully (if not temporarily) frozen in place,” she writes.

She does point out that despite her well known track ‘You Outta Know’ off her album Jagged Little Pill, man-hating has never been her “thing”. That song was about a personal break-up and did not in any way reflect her views on the entire male species, although that narrative was certainly forced upon her through the mainstream, she says. As an aside, we have to say how tragic it is that a strong woman unashamedly declaring her feelings out loud like Alanis should be synonymous with hating men. That is certainly an aspect of the movement which needs to be revolutionized!

“Feminism is incomplete without its dualistic brother, its complement, and, ideally, its greatest supporter: the empowered masculine…Whether this is indicated in our choices sexually, physically, emotionally, vocationally or artistically, we are moving ever closer to getting a real sense of who we are as humans based on where we fall on this continuum,” she said.

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It is an idea that many feminists are starting to speak up about, needing male allies. It is also becoming a more recognized movement among men, recently the most famous of which was Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who boldly declares he is a feminist out loud on the world stage and says he will continue to do so until his comment is met with a shrug, as if it is the most normal thing in the world. Amen to that!

“The delicate and powerful outcome of what happens when the feminine and the masculine work in tandem is what I am interested in,” says Alanis, while adding the violence still inflicted upon women around the world today, as well as LGBT community members and feminine men needs to end in order for anything aside from masculine to be considered powerful and equal.

“There has been so much death, mutilation, annihilation, reduction, aversion and obliteration of the feminine and the female/feminine body as has been evidenced with female genital mutilation, sex trafficking, hyper-sexualisation in entertainment and pop culture, LGBT hate, unequal pay, lack of education about the female body, public shaming, bashing and bullying, and to know it is still happening across the planet on a daily basis is nothing short of soul-killing and archaic,” she said.

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Alanis does mention the enormous strides being made for women, especially in the Western world.

“Women can be presidents (if still frequently challenged on the basis of their gender) or CEOs (if still having had to work 10 times harder than men to get there) or movie stars (if still having to fight to earn anywhere near the same wage as their male co-stars), or play the natural roles that they were born to play with less resistance. Could this in fact be…tip-toeing toward the light at the end of the tunnel of unification…? Painstakingly slowly, to be sure,” she writes.

It is interesting that in parenthesis she equates patriarchy to the “disempowered masculine”, clearly identifying to her audience that patriarchal power also does great damage to men. It is also not a model that the feminist movement should copy as it continues to influence the world.

“If the goal is less polarization and the greater acceptance of the masculine and the feminine qualities in all of us, then the goal being in sight might well be the gift that this new generation and new era is offering…if patriarchy (disempowered masculine) relies on a silenced and reduced feminine (disempowered feminine), then true empowerment is an internal movement toward maturation and healing, and renewed defining of personal power and responsibility and a re-working of what it means to achieve success on this planet,” she said.

In a recent interview for an India literature festival, Egyptian feminist activist and author Mona Eltahawy expertly explained that feminism today is a very big threat to many men because their only knowledge of power is the top-down approach that patriarchal and dictatorship is built upon. But the feminist power comes from everyone, that means all genders, having an equal share of power and being afforded the space to live it out as they see best away from societal or structural limitations. It makes perfect sense, and once this notion of the different power structures becomes more common, it will go a long way to moving feminism forward.

“Hating men for the oppression we as women have experienced…just keeps the gender and gender-quality divide ever entrenched. We must take our passion and energy for the lunacy of this reductivism and channel it toward change: addressing first, the egregious lack of celebration of the feminine and all feminine qualities; and second, and equally important, the redefinition of what empowerment looks like in the masculine,” Alanis continued.

She concludes by outlining some of the far-reaching effects around the world in a number of different industries are areas when each person on the planet is given permission to look at every part of themselves as empowered.

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“When glimpses of a new way to live occur, it is truly a powerful and light-filled sight to behold. We have already seen it take shape in fits and starts in this new generation and in our culture: More fathers being supported. Fewer power-struggle-filled forms of parenting and relating. More emotional literacy. More masculine-oriented women having the careers that they have dreamed of since they were very young. More empowered men supporting empowered women. More diversity. More acceptance of personal lifestyle and sexual preference choices. More connection. More responsibility,” she said.

Words like “weakness”, “submission” and “vulnerability” would in themselves be revolutionized to become terms that aren’t necessarily negative.

“‘Weakness’ would be more respectfully associated with yielding (a deeply intuitive ability) or resting (an underrated action in today’s work addicted world) or humility, with humility serving as a portal to our own sense of spirituality—a lost goal in a world obsessed with industry and ‘might being right’,” she said.

When we read her very wholistic and spiritual perspective on the benefits of advancing feminism, we can’t help but will it into existence across the world now. As Alanis did mention in her piece, there are slow advances being made, but every one of us is responsible for either maintaining the status quo, sending us back in time to a power structure that served a limited amount of people, or moving us forward into a world where everyone benefits equally. We know which one of those we want to be focused on. You can read her full essay by clicking here.

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This Is For My Girls: Michelle Obama Joins Missy Elliott & Kelly Clarkson For A Song About Girl Power

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Michelle Obama has joined forces with some heavyweight celebrities to push a message of female empowerment in an entertaining way. In line with her Let Girls Learn campaign, the American First Lady has lent her voice in a different kind of way. She is not just speaking the message of girl power, she is now singing it!

That’s right, FLOTUS’ vocals can be heard on the track ‘This is for my girls’ produced by hit-maker Diane Warren (who described it to Billboard as ‘We Are The World’ meets ‘Lady Marmalade’) which also includes the likes of Janelle Monae, Missy Elliott, Kelly Clarkson, Kelly Rowland, 16-year-old Motown artist Jadagrace, Beyoncé protégés’ Chloe & Halle, Lea Michele and Zendaya is a catchy single, the proceeds of which will go to charities that are working with the ‘Let Girls Learn initiative.

At the recent South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, Michelle joined a panel moderated by Queen Latifah about the song, and talked more on why advocating for girls education and the same opportunities as boys is important, not just in the developing world, but also in the United States.

She drew upon her own experience as a young girl and why that has compelled her to use her elevated platform for the good of other girls.

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“Growing up as a black girl on the South Side of the Chicago … there were always people around telling me what I couldn’t do and telling me how far I should only dream, and my reaction was to prove the doubters wrong,” said the First Lady.

During her time in the White House she has travelled all over the U.S. as well as the world getting a better grasp of why championing the cause of ever girl to have access to education important. Many studies show that for every extra year of schooling beyond elementary school, a girl’s earning potential increases from 10-15% in some cases. It is no just a great idea, this whole “girl power” thing. It is good for the economy to have women participating in their communities and in society, operating at their full potential.

“Grown men trying to snuff out the aspiration of little girls—­­that inspired me to launch Let Girls Learn. There are a lot of men-only tables going in this country and around the world, and the only people who can change that are the men at the table” said Michelle.

In a separate essay for Lena Dunham’s Lenny Letter to promote the single and corresponding campaign, she explained more on why caring about girls in the developing world is something we in the West can identify with.

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 “This issue isn’t just about access to resources like scholarships, transportation, and school bathrooms. It’s also very much about attitudes and beliefs: the belief that girls should be valued for their bodies, not their minds; the belief that girls simply aren’t worthy of an education, and their best chance in life is to be married off when they’re barely even teenagers and start having children of their own,” she wrote.

It may manifest itself is different ways, but the fundamental idea that women are not equal to men, and are only seen as limited-purpose beings is something many of us have come across in the developed world. It is why breaking the cycle has never been more pressing.

“I’ve met girls who make long, dangerous journeys each day to school and then come home and study for hours each night. I’ve met girls studying at rickety desks in bare concrete classrooms who are raising their hands so hard they’re almost falling out of their chairs. I see myself in these girls — in their ambition and their determination to rise above their circumstances. And I believe that …you’d see yourselves in these girls too,” she added.

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The campaign has also launched a website called 62milliongirls.com which is named after the number of girls worldwide which are estimated not to have any access to education today. Here you can find more information, resources, and tools to get involved.

Aside from rallying the sisterhood to take action, Michelle Obama says the role of including men in the conversation is important because equality cannot happen with only half the people in the world participating.

“When you have a seat at the table and you have access to power … the question you can ask yourself is, is there diversity around the table? Are there voices and opinions who don’t sound like yours? We reach better answers when we have a broad array of voices,” she said.

Missy Elliott talked about her own experience recognizing the need for females to support each other. Growing up she witnessed her mother become a victim of an abusive relationship, and when she eventually left it became a turning point for the rapper.

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“Because I got a chance to see the strength in her, that taught me a lot as a women and being strong and being supportive of other women,” she said.

She also drew parallels to the music industry and how a lack of female decision-makers and female voices at the table means something is missing.

“It’s why you’re not getting as rich [and] diverse a sound in the music as you should. Whenever you remove a woman’s voice from anything, you are lacking. There’s no possible way you can be at your best when you remove women from the equation,” she said.

No girl should ever feel like her voice is missing from the conversation. We really love the Let Girls Learn campaign, even more so now that it has its own girl power anthem! During the SXSW Michelle Obama was asked whether she would ever consider running for president, given that it is an election year, and while she adamantly said “no”, she did reassure the audience that she doesn’t have to be a head of state to champion the cause of female empowerment.

“I don’t plan on slowing down anytime soon. And I expect to go into my 60s blazing, blazing and trying to be as fly and as healthy as I can be.”

You can purchase the single ‘This Is For My Girls’ on iTunes where all proceeds will go to charity. Hear a snippet of the song below:

 

This Is For My Girls: Michelle Obama Joins Missy Elliott & Kelly Clarkson For A Song About Girl Power

 

 

 

Beyoncé opens up about her definition of Feminism and Gender Equality in her first interview in 3 years with ELLE Magazine

“This article originally appears in the May 2016 issue of ELLE, available digitally on April 5, on news stands in select cities starting April 6, and nationwide on April 19.”

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“I put the definition of feminist in my song [“Flawless”] and on my tour, not for propaganda or to proclaim to the world that I’m a feminist, but to give clarity to the true meaning. I’m not really sure people know or understand what a feminist is, but it’s very simple. It’s someone who believes in equal rights for men and women. I don’t understand the negative connotation of the word, or why it should exclude the opposite sex. If you are a man who believes your daughter should have the same opportunities and rights as your son, then you’re a feminist. We need men and women to understand the double standards that still exist in this world, and we need to have a real conversation so we can begin to make changes. Ask anyone, man or woman, “Do you want your daughter to have 75 cents when she deserves $1?” What do you think the answer would be? When we talk about equal rights, there are issues that face women disproportionately. That is why I wanted to work with [the philanthropic organizations] Chime for Change and Global Citizen. They understand how issues related to education, health, and sanitation around the world affect a woman’s entire existence and that of her children. They’re putting programs in place to help those young girls who literally face death because they want to learn, and to prevent women from dying during childbirth because there’s no access to health care. Working to make those inequalities go away is being a feminist, but more importantly, it makes me a humanist. I don’t like or embrace any label. I don’t want calling myself a feminist to make it feel like that’s my one priority, over racism or sexism or anything else. I’m just exhausted by labels and tired of being boxed in. If you believe in equal rights, the same way society allows a man to express his darkness, to express his pain, to express his sexuality, to express his opinion—I feel that women have the same rights.”

When asked what did she had to say to those who feel you can’t be a feminist and also embrace your femininity, Beyoncé quickly retorted…

“We all know that’s not true. Choosing to be a feminist has nothing to do with your femininity—or, for that matter, your masculinity. We’re not all just one thing. Everyone who believes in equal rights for men and women doesn’t speak the same, or dress the same, or think the same. If a man can do it, a woman should be able to. It’s that simple. If your son can do it, your daughter should be able to. Some of the things that we teach our daughters—allowing them to express their emotions, their pain and vulnerability—we need to allow and support our men and boys to do as well.”

http://www.elle.com/fashion/a35286/beyonce-elle-cover-photos/

 

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Kate Bush, an artist who exists outside of the patriarchy, tbf I think she exists outside of this planet, outside of this galaxy, She is not of this world and that’s why I love her!!

On first seeing this, it made me really sad and made my essay on her and feminist theory seem pretty redundant! *Cries! However at the same time, I kinda get where she is coming from! I don’t think Kate Bush needs feminism. She is possibly one of the few female artists who pretty much doesn’t.
When we look at Kate Bush, we see a better world, we see, well I know I see a human first of all, actually a sub-human creature capable of creating magic and taking us to another world as a real artist should do – and I think that is why so many of us adore her so much, because we love seeing and experiencing this. We see this tiny glimpse of what the world could be like if female artists got to do their art while being seen as people and not constantly held to ridiculous standards, trivialized and ridiculed and then shamed for being either too sexy or not sexy enough all the time

Welcome to my blog: Gender Equality in the Music Industry (GEMI)

 

My mission in creating this blog is to inspire and empower. There is one main difference between this blog and all other similar sites: I ONLY focus on positive news. Gender Equality in the Music Industry (GEMI) was launched in January 2016 and today is a go-to destination for female artists looking for content that focuses on the positive representation of women in the music industry and media.

There are three key areas of focus for the site’s content: Body image, positive messages from women in the music industry, and a contributors platform where everyday female artists and music fans can share their powerful stories.

The content is a great mix of original and curated information from myself and other similar online resources .

My goal is to always bring the best content that has a purpose and remains positive. How many daily news sites can say the same? If you would like to know more about the blog, or perhaps want to collaborate, write, partner or advertise with GEMI head over to the contact page.

Thanks so much!

GEMI POWER! XxX

Bríd.