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Do It Like A Dude?

November 19, 2010

The role that gender plays in the music industry is a discussion that undulates through the decades, goes in and out fashion, and never comes to any satisfying conclusions.

Admittedly, female musicians have come a long way since the late 1900s, when to perform was to be a whore. And the early 90s riot grrrl practice of cutting words such as ‘slut’ and ‘bitch’, seems equally outdated in a decade that has seen women, in particular as a solo artist, dominate popular music. Admittedly, women within the classic band structure are still somewhat of a novelty but this past year especially, has seen an extraordinary amount of all-female outfits like Dum Dum Girls, Trash Kit and Frankie Rose and The Outs take the indie scene in their strides. And with Warpaint making the cover of NME in October, 2010 has felt infinitely progressive for women in rock.

So to the point.

I saw the Jessie J ‘Do It Like A Dude’ video on Wednesday for the first time. Assessing it purely on a visual level, it’s not anything out of the ordinary for contemporary pop culture, where female pop artists tow the Gaga line, in varying degrees, by dressing sexy with enough ‘ugly’ or ‘quirky’ to counteract any catcalls of the ‘bitch, slut, ho’ variety. But why does it have to be done ‘like a dude’? Especially like one that act like  such a first class prick [with unnecessary access to autotune]?

I’m not even gonna question Jessie as a performer. I’ve heard her really sing [seriously, wow] and I’m aware of her songwriting credentials. Turning around mega pop hits is a talent I could most certainly do with.  And she’s been blasting the backside out of that ‘Mama Knows Best’ track, a song that could run circles around ‘Do It…’. Just watch this performance here. So why, when she is such a brazen female force to be reckoned with, does her entrance into the mainstream music media have to be rendered so aurally genderless and be filled with crass imitations of male posturing and bravado?

More of this instead please:


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