The Women Who Are Redefining Rock

By Nina Cherry

A new wave is taking over the alternative rock world, consisting of uncensored, empowered women assuming control over what has been viewed as the “man’s domain” for decades. This artistic movement could even be described as the second wave of the Riot Grrrl movement – but this time, they are louder are stronger. They have risen from the underground and are finding their way into mainstream circuits.

Lucy Dacus, Margaret Glaspy, Mitski, and Lindsey Jordan are some of the most prominent and representative artists of this movement.  With gravelly voices, distorted guitars, and unapologetic lyrics, these female rockers are redefining indie rock. They are abandoning and shattering stereotypes and societal expectations. Unashamed, vulgar, and loud, these artists aren’t trying to be pretty or ladylike. By tackling taboo topics like sexual orientation, sex, and gender discrimination in their songs, they are paving a new way for the genre.

Mitski, an indie rock singer songwriter who is a part of this collective movement, describes her most recent album, Be the Cowboy, as “inherently feminine.” She explains, “When I say feminine album, immediately the perception is that it must be soft and lovely, but I mean feminine in the violent sense…It’s a lot of pent-up anger or desire without a socially acceptable outlet.”

Being a female performer, especially in rock, is hard. These women are frequently belittled and disrespected, and they struggle to get the recognition they deserve. I love that they are turning their angst and oppression into art and writing feminist anthems that we can all relate to.

To read more about these women and their experiences, ideas, and goals, check out this round table discussion from The New York Times.

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