Shameless Queer Media Plug #2

Back in 2006, I was the Program Director for Marquette University Radio, and for a week around Halloween myself and 3 of my fellow MUR staffers went to New York City (on Marquette’s dime) for the annual College Music Journal convention. The week was about networking, learning about other radio stations, meeting famous people, and going to free concerts. I shed a tear that week in the balcony of the Hammerstein Ballroom to the Decemberists’ “Sons and Daughters,” but I digress.

I went to a panel that week about being LGBT in the music industry. On the panel (among others) was openly bisexual singer/songwriter Rachael Sage (check out her song “Vertigo”) and a representative from Sony Music subsidy Music With A Twist – a recently created arm of Sony that focuses on cultivating and promoting LGBT artists. The guy kept going on and on about this band they had recently signed, called the Gossip.

Fast forward to maybe a month ago, and a single from Gossip’s (they dropped the “the”) fourth studio album “Music For Men” was the free download of the week on iTunes. I figured, “I can handle free,” and I downloaded the song “Heavy Cross” to finally check out what all the hoopla was about.

Gossip are NOT a queer gimmick band. That was my initial fear. Their style is raw and punky and garage band, and they are led by one of the most intense and awesome LGBT figures in popular culture right now – singer Beth Ditto. Ditto’s extreme awesomeness (at least as it pertains to this blog) is 3 fold:

1) She’s an outspoken lesbian, but her advocacy doesn’t result in her saying stupid things (I’m looking at you, Melissa Etheridge), and her in-your-face sexuality actually isn’t off-putting like it has the potential to be. She plays shows with other queer artists, does benefits for queer causes, and is an all-around icon for queer culture.

2) HOLY FEMINIST, BATMAN! The other thing Ditto isn’t shy about is her intense feminism, and she lives it every day with each time she speaks up and commands attention and shows the world she isn’t afraid to be herself. Just because she’s a woman doesn’t mean she can’t compete with the boys, and her music shows an edginess and intensity that everyone has to respect, regardless of gender.

3) She is a proud person of size. Ditto has been criticized for “normalizing obesity,” but you know what? Women come in ALL SIZES, and Beth Ditto is on a crusade to make sure that every woman, regardless of size, has the right to feel good about themselves and be sexy. Ditto takes risks with fashion that women of size aren’t often comfortable enough to take, and she makes that level of glamour and sexiness accessible to the average woman. I definitely don’t think there’s anything negative about putting yourself out there so that women have someone to look up to that actually looks like them, and by being as outspoken and confident as she is, she’s giving women of size across the world the confidence boost they need to break out of their shell.

So, I’m officially sold. I downloaded all of Gossip’s “Music For Men” (which by the way, features Gossip’s androgynous female drummer on the cover) and I love every second of it. I don’t support queer music just because it’s queer music (because, let’s face it, a lot of it is bad), but the appeal of Gossip is much greater than just queer people. Feminists, people of size, and those who just love good old-fashioned garage punk can’t help but love Gossip too.

Below is the video for the song “Heavy Cross,” the one that got me hooked. What do you think?


One Response

  1. love her

    her music? i listen to it, though it’s not my all time fav

    but thanks for giving the gossip some recognition on the WW


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