Social Stance Saturday: What is Feminism? (by Miss Geo)
Boston- based indie-electronic pop group, Miss Geo, use their music to explore the emotions that bind people together. Two members of Miss Geo, Abby Heredia and Pascaline Mary (Abby and Paz), are an international pair who have their own fascinating perspectives about feminism, how their individual identities are formed, and ideas about femimism and music in general. Read their Social Stance Saturday blog below!
The music landscape has been shaped by gender inequalities, stereotypes, and discrimination. As of now, despite the strong legacy of female electronic producers, less than 5% of the music producers are women. Yet, contemporary music democratization and apparent norm-shifting progress turn music into a powerful voice to bring to light social issues such as abuse and harassment, condemn women oppression and educates people on accepting what the society has called abnormal for years. Music inspires and provokes. As musician and woman/gender non-conforming/trans/human beings we can express our own experiences, engage the voice of others, denounce, influence and ultimately gain autonomy of our body. Of course, like any label, the word "feminism" is being abused to make profits, it is becoming a brand used to make a financial impact more than a social, cultural or political identity. Keywords, in general, are being used to sell and those trendy words are often used out of context. I frequently see "feminism" being employed without nuances in the music industry. But those trends, even if they lose the political and social meaning of words, can help us. They popularize notions and make them acceptable. In a way, if feminism becomes popular, we can hope that awareness and desire for equality will build up among us, human beings.
I use music as an outlet for expression. When performing, I feel empowered to communicate without restrictions and my identity is being revealed. On stage, I live a freedom that can't be reproduced in any other context. I see modern feminism as freedom. This implies progressive ideas, and sometimes chocking sentences or visuals to convey a message that can be registered. This implies that boundaries imposed by social constructs fall off. I still have boundaries while playing but they are not the result of what the society dictates me, rather what the audience's happiness and desires inspire. I do not have this freedom of expression outside of the music scene or at least I don't think I am allowed to have it. I worry about judgment and discrimination in other contexts. This discrimination isn't obvious because I live in a bubble where violent oppression and chocking inequalities are not as striking as in other countries where women's freedom is a CRIME, but a latent anxiety constantly builds up in my body.
Miss Geo's band members are all women: this is a conscious choice. Our multiple and overlapping identities and background intermingle; we have different ethnicities, we have different sexual orientations, we all have had trauma and struggles and cope with it very differently. Our social, cultural, sexual and political experiences as women constitute a critical part of our musical identity; we are intersectional feminists.
The essence of Feminism, for me, is the bravery to break out of a given narrative. To keep fighting for something bigger: gender equality, social justice, and a sisterhood. And in turn, amplifying your own unique voice in the world.
I’m inspired by the courage of those who have spoken about their sexual abuse, whispers, becoming a chorus and a “me too.” Serena Williams bee-lining her truth to the referee: “you’re a thief” and leveling the playing field on the playing field. Nothing to gain individually but staring back at institutionalized opinions and carving a road for the collective sisterhood. Every day a new heroine rises and calls us to action in our own ways.
Outside of the news media is where the uncelebrated magic happens. It's my landlord, Brenda Walcott, an Umbra poet from the 60’s. Sitting me down and sharing her work, activism, and one of the first loosely stapled 10- cent copies of her friends' publication- “Our Bodies Ourselves.” It's the women who fill my headphones and line my rehearsal space walls each night: Bjork, Shonen Knife, Le Tigre, and Ani. It's my mom. It's girls rock camp Boston. It's taking my own little step: saying something to the jerk man-spreading the shopping cart as I approached. It's a trans woman entering the bathroom. It’s my band mates Paz, Alex, and Caitlin standing with me on stage because that’s our contribution, and we can make true of what we want to. It's a declaration of self. For me, it stands in solidarity within the intersection of being a brown-skinned, gay, Filipina musician.
Feminism is whatever a woman voices it to be.
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From L to R, Miss Geo is: Abby Heredia, Pascaline Mary, Alex Miklowski