While most feminist writers these days are busily taking sides re: Sheryl Sandberg v. Maureen Dowd, I’ve been mulling a completely different front in the ongoing debate over “Who’s More Empowering Than Whom.”*
My Women’s Press editors are putting out an issue in April dedicated to music, and I get to weigh in. I love pop culture, and I love pop music. I also love feminism, and most of all I love my daughter, and these latter loves rarely peacefully coexist with the former.
I could have written a PhD thesis on single-monikered popstresses , but my column is too short to take on more than two.
In this corner, Her Royal Madgesty, the Queen of Pop: MADONNA!
In this corner, the tough young upstart, the Barbadian Babe, and the star whom my children vastly prefer: RIHANNA!
Who’s More Empowering Than Whom, faithful feminist fans?
I grew up with Madonna, so to me this isn’t a fair fight. I also stacked the deck for the Queen with a song that’s among the top girl power anthems of all time. And though I try not to pass judgment on women who remain with their abusers, for myriad reasons, still….eeeruygh.
This is not to say that a Madonna obsession is not problematic. Would it be nicer if she weren’t prone to ridiculous publicity stunts, many of which involve her crotch & boobs? Could she have a lighter hand with the plastic surgery and/or upper body weights? The Malawi “orphans” with living parents?
This would be easier if I liked Ani DiFranco.
And I’ve tried. Really tried. I went to a hippy-dippy liberal arts college that brought her to campus as part of Take Back the Night festivities, but I lasted only a song or two before heading home to play THIS:
My kids’ reaction to anything remotely Riot Grrrrlish? “THIS HURTS MY EARS, MOM! TURN IT OFF!”
Your picks are welcome in the comments.
Have Madonna, RiRi, Ani and/or Kathleen gone on the record about “Lean In”? Since Madonna and Ani are mothers as well as artists and business owners, it’s probably only a matter of time.
*This is what we do instead of March Madness. Pass the popcorn & wine!