I wanted to say thank you. All three of you admirable women are outspoken, powerful, talented, and living your lives on your terms. Somehow, in the year 2013, that last one is still difficult. Women are still shaking off the shackles of oppression from all angles, still unsheathing themselves from the mighty patriarchy, and oh my, is it a heavy cloak. I hope the honesty and hard-won lessons in these letters are being ingested by others the way they have by me, an early-30s songwriter, musician, mother, and unknown folksinger.
You could say I tried to use my sexuality to sell music in my early days. I was 23 and living in my car, driving mad circles around the country playing coffee shops, colleges, backyards and bars, armed with pink tinged blonde hair, a loud untrained voice and a guitar that was an old friend who would acquiesce to my often odd demands of playing bizarre chords and waltzes. Sexuality didn't really work for me, my songs were too vulnerable as is, I couldn't bear putting too much more of myself on display (except for that one time at a jam festival in California when I accidentally wore a tube top and during a particularly aggressive song I realized my boob had escaped... I sold a lot of CDs that day). Years later after building a very small, but very satisfying career singing about my feelings, my bass-playing boyfriend and I got pregnant. I was terrified, my small time folksinging career couldn't afford tour nannies or even consistent hotels. We traveled in a station wagon. I had no agents or labels. I had to let our sweet manager go because we couldn't pay him and pay the midwife. My career (or whatever you call it) has definitely felt a hit, as I write this blog with an almost 2-year-old demanding my attention every three minutes. My husband currently plays bass with TV stars every other weekend and we are able to stay afloat, regardless of the anchor of my jealously of his sweet gigs.
I digress. I appreciate you, Miley, for your unabashed use of all the arrows in your employ. A month ago, I couldn't have cared less about you or music and now I've seen a lot of your videos and read every interview you've given lately. I am fascinated and impressed by the amount of fucks you don't give as you twerk and cry all while riding a wrecking ball without any undies. I would never have half the courage you have, plus I can't figure out the folksinger's version of twerking, maybe using two capos at once? I just hope we don't see you fall into mental illness or serious drug addiction. America loves a naked train wreck, but I can't help just see you as a real young woman carving a niche for herself in an already graffiti covered pop music world. If you take Sinead and Amanda's insight to heart, you could possibly avoid such missteps. These are your elders. They see your beauty and are hopeful for you. We live in a world where this advice is scoffed at, where our elders are drugged into a stupor so that we can drive the planet into the rising seas without a wrinkled finger wagging at us and saying "I told you so!" That finger points at you out of love and respect. Bob Dylan's famous quote "Please get out of the new one / If you can't lend your hand / For the times they are a-changin'." May or may not apply here.
Sinead and Amanda, thank you for voices. For playing the Mother and the Crone for Miley the Maiden. It saddens me so deeply when women hate on women. We HAVE to be each other's biggest advocates in this world that wants us to fit coyly into our tiny molds and not complain about it. You have both been very inspiring to me in many ways, the most of which is very clearly standing up tall and straight for your art, for your beliefs, for yourselves. If I had any kind of soapbox to stand on (maybe this is it?), I would decry my love for your giant balls of fury. And now that you've made your voices heard to Miss Miley and her ability to command attention, I think we all need to sit back and watch her live out her life the way she so desires, in all its tongue-waggling glory.
I hope if she ever has kids she lets those boobs fly when she breast feeds. That's my favorite way to expose myself.
I know that the chances of any of these three women seeing this blog is slim to none, but I had to take a page out of their books and express myself on the subject. While we are at it, can we start calling musicians who happen to be female, "Musicians" as opposed to "Female Musicians"? Would you ever call a man who happens to be a musician, a "Male Musician"? I doubt it. We don't need the qualification of our gender any more when it comes to our jobs. Thanks.
xo, a musician
p.s. my new record, Caldera, is the best piece of art I've ever made and I would jump on a wrecking ball and twerk my naked ass off to get the word out about it, if I had access to a clean wrecking ball.
Follow Raina Rose on Twitter: www.twitter.com/rainarose