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

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Harvard University Press, 1996 - Music - 410 pages
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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 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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The sex revolts: gender, rebellion, and rock'n'roll

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Gender is at the core of rock. In this music (historically created by males), the tension of love, lust, and hate between the sexes is a central issue. In addition, rock, from its inception, has ... Read full review


Introduction xi
Songs of Fear and Loathing 19
Abjection in Rock 85
Metal and Machine Music 102
Delusions of Grandeur from Jim Morrison to Gangsta
The Cult of the Psychopath 141
The Psychedelic Mothers
Cosmic Rock 181
Masquerade and Mastery 289
PostPunk Demystification 306
Postfeminism and Pop 316
Grrrls Against BoyRock 323
Bodys in Trouble 332
Domesticitys Tender Trap
Rebels Against Structure 354
Afterword 385

Can Eno and Oceanic Rock 191
Nostalgia Incest and Zen Apathy 211
The Herstory of Rock 230
Female Machisma 236
Hysterics Witches and Mystics 276

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About the author (1996)

Simon Reynolds writes about music and popular culture for the New York Times, ArtForum, the Observer, and Melody Maker, and is the author of Blissed Out: The Raptures of Rock.

Joy Press in the editor of the "Voice Literary Supplement". She has written about books and arts for numerous publications and is the coauthor of "The Sex Revolts: Gender, Rebellion, and Rock 'n' Roll". She lives in New York City.

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