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Sex Revolts: Gender, Rebellion, and Rock 'n' Roll

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Iggy Pop once said of women: "However close they come I'll always pull the rug from under them. That's where my music is made." For so long, rock 'n' roll has been fueled by this fear and loathing of the feminine. The first book to look at rock rebellion through the lens of gender, The Sex Revolts captures the paradox at rock's dark heart--the music is often most thrilling Iggy Pop once said of women: "However close they come I'll always pull the rug from under them. That's where my music is made." For so long, rock 'n' roll has been fueled by this fear and loathing of the feminine. The first book to look at rock rebellion through the lens of gender, The Sex Revolts captures the paradox at rock's dark heart--the music is often most thrilling when it is most misogynist and macho. And, looking at music made by female artists, it asks: must it always be this way? Provocative and passionately argued, the book walks the edgy line between a rock fan's excitement and a critic's awareness of the music's murky undercurrents. Here are the angry young men like the Stones and Sex Pistols, cutting free from home and mother; here are the warriors and crusaders, The Clash, Public Enemy, and U2 taking refuge in a brotherhood-in-arms; and here are the would-be supermen, with their man-machine fantasies and delusions of grandeur, from Led Zeppelin and Jim Morrison to Nick Cave and gangsta rap. The authors unravel the mystical, back-to-the-womb longings of the psychedelic tradition, from Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, and Van Morrison to Brian Eno, My Bloody Valentine, and ambient techno. Alongside the story of male rock, The Sex Revolts traces the secret history of female rebellion in rock: the masquerade and mystique of Kate Bush, Siouxie, and Grace Jones, the demystifiers of femininity, like the Slits and Riot Grrl, tomboy rockers like L7 and P. J. Harvey, and confessional artists like Janis Joplin, Joni Mitchell, and Courtney Love. A heady blend of music criticism, cultural studies, and gender theory by two of rock's keenest observers, The Sex Revolts is set to become the key text in the women-in-rock debate.


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Iggy Pop once said of women: "However close they come I'll always pull the rug from under them. That's where my music is made." For so long, rock 'n' roll has been fueled by this fear and loathing of the feminine. The first book to look at rock rebellion through the lens of gender, The Sex Revolts captures the paradox at rock's dark heart--the music is often most thrilling Iggy Pop once said of women: "However close they come I'll always pull the rug from under them. That's where my music is made." For so long, rock 'n' roll has been fueled by this fear and loathing of the feminine. The first book to look at rock rebellion through the lens of gender, The Sex Revolts captures the paradox at rock's dark heart--the music is often most thrilling when it is most misogynist and macho. And, looking at music made by female artists, it asks: must it always be this way? Provocative and passionately argued, the book walks the edgy line between a rock fan's excitement and a critic's awareness of the music's murky undercurrents. Here are the angry young men like the Stones and Sex Pistols, cutting free from home and mother; here are the warriors and crusaders, The Clash, Public Enemy, and U2 taking refuge in a brotherhood-in-arms; and here are the would-be supermen, with their man-machine fantasies and delusions of grandeur, from Led Zeppelin and Jim Morrison to Nick Cave and gangsta rap. The authors unravel the mystical, back-to-the-womb longings of the psychedelic tradition, from Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, and Van Morrison to Brian Eno, My Bloody Valentine, and ambient techno. Alongside the story of male rock, The Sex Revolts traces the secret history of female rebellion in rock: the masquerade and mystique of Kate Bush, Siouxie, and Grace Jones, the demystifiers of femininity, like the Slits and Riot Grrl, tomboy rockers like L7 and P. J. Harvey, and confessional artists like Janis Joplin, Joni Mitchell, and Courtney Love. A heady blend of music criticism, cultural studies, and gender theory by two of rock's keenest observers, The Sex Revolts is set to become the key text in the women-in-rock debate.

30 review for Sex Revolts: Gender, Rebellion, and Rock 'n' Roll

  1. 5 out of 5

    Tootle Darling

    As the introduction to this book warns, you will most certainly not think about some of your favorite rock n'roll artists this same way again. It is a feminist and psychoanalytic take on the themes and tropes that run throughout the work of some the most revered bands in rock history, including The Rolling Stones, U2, The Clash, Iggy Pop and The Stooges and more. The most powerful and thought-provoking aspect of this book is identifying these themes and illuminating this oft-ignored aspect of po As the introduction to this book warns, you will most certainly not think about some of your favorite rock n'roll artists this same way again. It is a feminist and psychoanalytic take on the themes and tropes that run throughout the work of some the most revered bands in rock history, including The Rolling Stones, U2, The Clash, Iggy Pop and The Stooges and more. The most powerful and thought-provoking aspect of this book is identifying these themes and illuminating this oft-ignored aspect of popular music. A particularly powerful illumination includes the idea of The Rebel (always male) throughout both rock n'roll music and literature and pop culture as a whole. The argument is that The Rebel was ultimately rebelling against stultifying domesticity (identified with the female realm) and when women did make an appearance within say, Beatnik novels or in tales of young male rebellion such as Don't Look Back or Rebel Without A Cause, she was either a caregiver or something to be rebelled against. This book is most effective as an examination of these themes, but loses its ground when delving into the psychoanalytic aspects, and makes for cheesy moments when describing phallic symbols within rock and the symbol of the feminine in ambient and psychedelic music by way of symbols such as the ocean, etc. The most intriguing aspect of the book is the second half, which considers female artists and their troubled contribution to rock n'roll and popular music.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Aslı

    Rock müzikteki eril tavrı derinlemesine sorguluyor. İlk bölüm rock müziğin cinsiyetçi yanlarını, daha doğrusu cinsiyetçi içeriği sahip şarkı ve tavırları sunuyor, ikinci bölüm ise rock müziğin eril tavrı içerisinden kendine yer edinmeye çalışan kadın müzisyenleri anlatıyor. Sevdiğimiz şarkılarla ve müzisyenlerle ilgili olumsuz yorumlar moral bozucu olabilir ama yazarlar biz hala bu müzikleri seviyoruz, sevdiğimiz şeyi de eleştirebiliriz diyor. Yine de erkek ve kadın müzisyenlere ayrı ayrı oluştu Rock müzikteki eril tavrı derinlemesine sorguluyor. İlk bölüm rock müziğin cinsiyetçi yanlarını, daha doğrusu cinsiyetçi içeriği sahip şarkı ve tavırları sunuyor, ikinci bölüm ise rock müziğin eril tavrı içerisinden kendine yer edinmeye çalışan kadın müzisyenleri anlatıyor. Sevdiğimiz şarkılarla ve müzisyenlerle ilgili olumsuz yorumlar moral bozucu olabilir ama yazarlar biz hala bu müzikleri seviyoruz, sevdiğimiz şeyi de eleştirebiliriz diyor. Yine de erkek ve kadın müzisyenlere ayrı ayrı oluşturuldukları "kalıplar ve tanımlar" bazen bana dar ve sığ geldi.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Randy Russberg

    The book will not appeal to everyone's taste, but to those that are attracted it offers a lot of insights and fun. The book will not appeal to everyone's taste, but to those that are attracted it offers a lot of insights and fun.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Angelika

    Kurz vor Ende dann doch abgebrochen. Voller anti-feministischer Aussagen und unbelegter Zitate.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Devin

    Reynolds is one of my favorite rock scribes and I'd been meaning to read this book of his (written along with Joy Press) for over a decade. Maybe it was that anticipation and the lag between the context that it was written in and the current cultural environment that made me so disappointed. The thought of applying rigorous gender readings to rock music is an ingenious one and it seems all the more of a lost (never sustained?) form for rock criticism given the current digital media swarm surroun Reynolds is one of my favorite rock scribes and I'd been meaning to read this book of his (written along with Joy Press) for over a decade. Maybe it was that anticipation and the lag between the context that it was written in and the current cultural environment that made me so disappointed. The thought of applying rigorous gender readings to rock music is an ingenious one and it seems all the more of a lost (never sustained?) form for rock criticism given the current digital media swarm surrounding music that provokes conversation, but conversation that is without the deep theoretical grounding that is attempted here. However, the application of theory feels hurried and superficial. It's not that I disagree with the authors' categorization of certain music and artists into certain gendered roles, nor do I find many of their comments uninteresting, but it feels like they excitedly applied all sorts of (then) new gender paradigms onto popular music, without carefully parsing their categorizations. Not many of their conclusions were ultimately revealing or groundbreaking, which was was what I was sincerely expecting from this work.

  6. 5 out of 5

    David

    I read this in college for a class and really enjoyed it. If you enjoy pop music - pop music in general, not just a single genre - this is a good read. It has some pretty illuminating analysis of various pop music forms and the way that gender is played upon in them.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Erin Tuzuner

    Critical theory with familiar faces and a loud soundtrack, this work is perfect for college types who like to theorize their passions with semiotics.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lukas Evan

    Possibly the best book I've read about rock and gender. Possibly the only book I've read about rock and gender. Smash the patriarchy! Possibly the best book I've read about rock and gender. Possibly the only book I've read about rock and gender. Smash the patriarchy!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Duygu Doğan

  10. 4 out of 5

    bol etek

  11. 4 out of 5

    M

  12. 5 out of 5

    Judy

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ferat

  14. 4 out of 5

    Di Di

  15. 5 out of 5

    Humbert Detrya

  16. 5 out of 5

    John Ugolini

  17. 5 out of 5

    Shauna Frente

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

  19. 5 out of 5

    Laylay l

  20. 4 out of 5

    Thomas Bell

  21. 5 out of 5

    saturnine

  22. 4 out of 5

    Mx

  23. 5 out of 5

    Gina

  24. 5 out of 5

    Seda

  25. 4 out of 5

    Lilly Irani

  26. 5 out of 5

    Karen Barclay

  27. 4 out of 5

    Whitness

  28. 4 out of 5

    Sophia

  29. 4 out of 5

    Mary Moo

  30. 4 out of 5

    Anthony

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