Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Am I the Same Girl? : THE DIVA APRIL 20, 2009

I have been thinking a lot about the different identities that women are expected/allowed to have. One that seems extremely omnipresent recently, particularly with reference to women making music, is the identity of THE DIVA. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, a diva is:

"[It. diva goddess, lady-love, ‘fine lady’: diva goddess, female divinity, fem. of divusdivine, god, deity.]

A distinguished female singer, a prima donna.

1883 BLACK in Harper's Mag. Feb. 465/2 The latest diva of the drama. 1894 Tablet 7 Apr. 531 Operatic singers of the other sex are to be engaged, but no diva."

Yet, the diva has recently been equated to bitch, a difficult woman, or a demanding lady. And, perhaps as a result, female diva artistry has been taken for granted and relegated to the much scorned status of "Top 40"-- not-serious, adolescent music. I am now thinking of the bit of scholarship I have read on the image of the "teeny bopper" by Angela Robbie and how the subcultural identity has created its own space for GIRLS to maneuver. And as we know, tastes, just as much as anything is completely constructed. So I wonder how this type of music has become emblematic of the inauthentic or understood to be not-serious.

This show was my attempt at highlighting some of the women who have been relegated to the "diva" category in popular culture, and understanding them as musicians and artists making music. Let's try to strip away the social conventions of elitist pop-hating ways, and listen to what it means for these women to claim divadom and fully assume that identity.

Divas - This is New Radio

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