Gender and music…

Posted on January 9, 2012 by

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It’s worth noting that yesterday was David Bowie’s birthday, and today is David Johansen’s (of The New York Dolls). While what both of these guys did as far as appropriating traditionally female aspects of dress, makeup, and theatricality into the  traditionally macho world of rock n’ roll front men is pretty tame when looked at today, it was pretty subversive forty years ago. Bowie was the one who had the most mainstream success and the accompanying public backlash, while the Dolls were largely ignored. Below is a video of Bowie on TV in ’72 performing “Starman”. Below THAT is a video of Johansen and the NY Dolls in ’73 performing “Personality Crisis”. It’s interesting how much more “feminine” Johansen’s look is, but his sound is decidedly more hard-edged and “macho” than Bowie’s. Anyway, I don’t know if this really addresses any of the larger issues of gender representation, but the tunes are pretty good!

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