International Women’s Day is celebrated in many countries around the world. It is a day when women are recognized for their achievements without regard to divisions, whether national, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic or political. International Women’s Day first emerged from the activities of labour movements at the turn of the twentieth century in North America and across Europe. The first International Women’s Day was celebrated in 1909, but did not become an “official” day of celebration until 1975.
We here at RockScribes want to take a moment to write about the women who have inspired and motivated us over the year. Enjoy!
Several women have influenced me over the years, but probably the strongest female influence is the female vocalist for Lacuna Coil, Cristina Scabbia. Being a fan of Lacuna Coil for almost 18 years, I look at Scabbia as a revolutionary in that “female-fronted” metal genre. (Though should we really be saying that female-fronted bands are a sub-genre? Do we do this for anyone else?)
For me, Scabbia has always been a strong influence because of her unapologetic manner. She embraces each and every part of her womanhood and personality. She made it acceptable to enjoy heavy music AND still retain your femininity. You didn’t have to let go of your make-up, dresses, or perfectly coiffed hair to enjoy metal music.
Scabbia also made it socially acceptable to embrace the nerd within. A Star Wars fan and lover of cats, Scabbia has never shied away from the things in life that make her happy. She embraces who she is and what she loves. She encourages her fans to do the same. It is ultimately refreshing to see someone love themselves so much.
Amongst all of this, perhaps the most admirable trait of Scabbia is that she accepts all of her flaws with her perfections. She admits to her fans on social media that she won’t always wear make-up or brush her hair. She shows off her “flaws” as part of her humanity. She is open about her feelings and share her fears and dreams.
Scabbia taught me to embrace myself–flaws and all. She taught me that it was okay to retain your femininity, but still stand up for your convictions. I thank her for that. I thank her for helping to create a niche in metal music that makes it acceptable for women to join. To join and not have to relinquish their femininity. We can choose to be who we want to be.
When I grow up, I hope I can be as strong of Cristina Scabbia.
When we were brainstorming the idea for this post, I felt both excitement and apprehension. Chosing one woman within the music industry that I admire in particular is difficult, but the first name that comes to mind has been the same one since the age of 12; Tori Amos.
Not only do I admire Tori for her unique storytelling, hypnotic vocals, and key arrangements, but when I discovered her she held all of the characteristics that I admired as an adolescent; individualistic, empowered, sultry yet somehow remained a woman of obvious taste. As a natural red head, freckled-ginger- kid, I absolutely detested my natural aesthetic differences from the norm until I saw my first photo of Tori Amos. Seeing Tori didn’t encourage me to learn to like my pale skin and orange locks, but I admired her for embracing what I associated with “ugly”. When considering self authenticity and it’s unmistakable power to one’s quality of life, Tori Amos was the first to set that example for me.
I remember when “Cornflake Girl” was new and in heavy rotation on the local alternative radio station in 1994. I remember my dual cassette/AM/FM/phono stereo with the external speakers. I remember how the 90’s generation of feminine progression had a large voice through Lilith Fair and it’s lineup, using female fronted music as a tool for being heard; one giant soapbox for the muliebris gender.
In 1995 I was a sophomore in high school who had upgraded to a 3 disc CD changer stereo, and Tori’s “Under The Pink” remained inserted for an entire year. “Yes, Anastasia” is my favorite song ever composed; not only for the theatrical nature of the music that I’m so fond of, but also for the way in which it was written (click here for that info). Being raised by a Ukrainian immigrant and immersed heavily in Russian culture, it was the first time I had ever experienced a musician (or possibly anyone with any celebrity), who acknowledged something relative to the old country with deep compassion, interest, and affection.
Over the years Tori continued to release music, I continued to listen. She’s the one artist that I can reflect on most any segment of my life and remember one of her songs being on repeat at the time…a sort of soundtrack to my life. Tori remains active both in the studio and thought provoking conversations, remaining consistent in the feminist conversation, fighting the patriarchy in her gentle and understanding way.