GrrRl Power

Nathan Newman nathan.newman at
Mon Oct 19 08:20:13 PDT 1998

-----Original Message----- From: Mike Yates <mikey+ at> Subject: Re: GrrRl Power

>Here you are taking a groupe that was concocted, no doubt by men, to
>sell records, etc. plain and simple. About as radical as you can get.
>right. If the level of discussion cannot rise higher than this,we are
>in trouble. If you want to see how radical the girls and boys who
>listened to this crap get when they are older, come visit my classes.

Well, that a male record studio person played a role in putting the group together is hardly telling, unless you want to wipe 99% of all cultural studies of music off the board. This is true of Elvis and the Sex Pistols- who had undoubted cultural influence. The same is true of more politically relevant "girl" groups like Salt-n'Pepa.

More interesting is the fact that a lot of white male studio types have found destablizing heterosexual norms and patriarchy to be a lucrative project for fun and profit. Capitalism is often an unwittingly progressive force in certain cultural areas, mostly because it profits so much from general destabilization and new markets. Of course, it's core reproduction of labor is arguably endangered by threats to the nuclear family, so you have a lovely intermural capitalist tension between "liberal" cultural capitalists in Hollywood and the record industry exploiting markets for the destabilization of norms and traditional capitalists worried about how to keep the nuclear family down on the farm/in the cubicle after they've seen Paris.

Of course, with "destabilization" of norms just a lucrative capitalist project, it also makes one question whether such destabilization - as opposed to concrete political gains - is much of a progressive gain as each turn of the cultural wheel is so quickly packaged and commodified.

--Nathan Newman

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