“There is an inner beauty about a woman who believes in herself, who knows she is capable of anything that she puts her mind to. There is a beauty in the strength and determination of a woman who follows her own path, who isn’t thrown off by obstacles along the way. There is a beauty about a woman whose confidence comes from experiences; who knows she can fall, pick herself up, and move on.”
I’ve mentioned this amazing site via Facebook called I Am That Girl before. It literally has become my morning pick-me-up or get the day going and I saw this quote on there last week. It struck me so much — especially because of some things I’ve been going through recently — that I printed it out and hung it in my bedroom so I can see it everyday. Things in life are always going to come along and try knock us down. People and experiences may try to get us to doubt ourselves and to doubt our value but there is certainly something to be said for all those times we pick ourselves up!
It reminded me of a conversation I had with my friends in Portland on our way back from Multnomah Falls. As one of the local stations played the greatest hits of the ’90s, we realized how many more strong female performers there were back then. We came up with a list of literally about 20 women. Alanis, Meredith, Shaun, Joan, Sarah, Brandi (minus her recent hit and run), Monica, Aaliyah, TLC, Fiona, Jewel. I could keep going and going (and I’m sure you all can add some too). None of these women lip synched. None of them gyrated all over the stage to sell albums. Most of them wrote their own music and played their own instruments too. They wrote about real issues, real emotions and were real women.
I had never really thought about it before but in addition to my own mom who was a great role model, I think I have some of these women to thank for the way I turned out as well. I grew up having positive female role models on TV and on the radio. Strong, independent women. I feel sorry for girls growing up today because their role models consist of Rihanna, Miley Cyrus and the like. The women they have to look up to use sex to sell albums, objectify themselves to sell albums and oftentimes have very little talent. I’m glad we at least have women like P!nk and Alicia Keys still. I can tell you I wouldn’t want to be a female growing up in the times we do now. You can’t flip on a TV or open a magazine without some overly sexualized image of women. Some ad where a woman is trying to turn on a man to sell a product. And the music industry is no different. I will admit, Rihanna has some catchy songs but I mean really…she has songs called “Rude Boy” (asking “come here boy boy can you get it up?”) and “S&M” and there are teenage girls all over the world singing right along with her.
Which brings me back to the quote. I feel like it not only sums up my 2012 but I think it really personified the women in music I so looked up to growing up. Those who wrote the soundtrack of my young adult and teen years. Who continue to be the soundtrack of my life in many ways. If I could talk to each one of them, I would say thank you for the lessons, for the songs, and for showing all of us what it means to be a strong, independent woman. To follow your dreams, your heart and to do it authentically with no mind to how many records you might sell or what awards show you might get invited to.
Here’s to the female musicians and songwriters of the 90s!