I want to say a little something that’s long overdue
The disrespect to women has got to be through
To all the mothers and sisters and wives and friends
I want to offer my love and respect to the end.
-MCA/Adam Yauch, Beastie Boys, Sure Shot
"Once you've realized that you’re living in a world that believes women are 'less than' in every imaginable way, one of the things that can be most frustrating is that very few men get it...When you speak up about any sense of unfairness or injustice, you’re told that you’re overreacting, you’re too angry, too silly—shut up already.
But listening to this band that you love so much say that your pain is real, that the world is fucked up and that they are not going to participate in actions that hurt you anymore because they care about you—it was the overwhelming feeling of being made visible. They were sending a clear message to their female fans: this isn’t okay, we have your back, we’re sorry.
Maybe the shift of a band from seemingly misogynist frat boys to thoughtful messengers of feminism isn’t the most transgressive, radical thing in the world. But for women who love hip hop—or who love pop culture—and are denigrated by it every day, it was validation. For one of the first times, the music I loved loved me back."
-Jessica Valenti, MCA's Feminist Legacy
Being a Feminist is something that I'm extremely proud of and something that infiltrates every area of my life. Except, I'm realizing, this blog. Perhaps because it's one of the only topics I'm 100% comfortable addressing with words, in public, with just about anyone.
One such topic I've addressed, on more than one occasion, is how I can call myself a Feminist and also listen to some rap music. I'm not going to lie, it can be incredibly difficult and is something I struggle with. For years, largely thanks to the vitriol of Eminem, I avoided rap music. However, this was an ignorant decision which led to avoiding an entire culturally significant genre. And it made me almost as bad as the misogynist lyricists and their despicable rhetoric.
The Beastie Boys were the first rap group I could listen to without being assaulted by misogyny. (Though I should note, the first album of theirs I heard was "Hello Nasty," which came after their frat boy-esque earlier albums.) Thus Valenti's article, MCA's Feminist Legacy, is something I not only agree with -- especially the portion on the 1999 VMAs, which I distinctly remember -- but will remember and use in conversations for a long time.
I promise next week's Wednesday Words won't be quite so wordy. I can also promise more Feminism on the blog. It's a huge part of who I am and something I want to write about more. And I'm not at all sorry for that.