Feminism has always been a complex and controversial topic, as female rock musicians know especially well. When they’ve stayed true to their own vision, these artists have alternately been adored as role models or denounced as bad influences. Either way, they’re asked to cope with certain pressures that their male counterparts haven’t faced. With each successive feminism movement since the 1960s, women in rock have been prominent proponents of progress as they’ve increasingly taken control of their own music, message, and image. This, in its way, is just as revolutionary as any protest demonstration.
In She’s a Badass, music journalist Katherine Yeske Taylor interviews twenty significant women in rock, devoting an entire chapter to each one, taking an in-depth look at the incredible talent, determination—and, often, humor—they needed to succeed in their careers (and life). Interviewees range from legendary artists through notable up-and-comers, including Ann Wilson (Heart), Gina Schock (The Go-Go’s), Suzanne Vega, Amy Ray (Indigo Girls), Orianthi, Amanda Palmer, and more. Their experiences reveal the varied and unique challenges these women have faced, how they overcame them, and what they think still needs to be done to continue making progress on the equality front. Their stories prove that promoting feminism—either through activism or by living example—is undeniably badass.
Katherine Yeske Taylor began her career as a rock critic in Atlanta in the 1990s, interviewing Georgia musical royalty such as the Indigo Girls, R.E.M., and the Black Crowes while still a teenager. Since then, she has conducted several hundred interviews and contributes regularly to Billboard, Spin, and American Songwriter, among others. She is a longtime New York City resident and is extremely active in the downtown rock scene. Tom Beaujour is a journalist as well as a co-founder and former editor-in-chief of Revolver, America’s premier hard rock and heavy metal monthly. Beaujour has produced and mixed albums by Nada Surf, Guided by Voices, the Juliana Hatfield Three, and many others. He is the author of Nothin’ But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the ‘80s Hard Rock Wxplosion and of Guitar Aficionado: The Collections – The Most Famous, Rare, and Valuable Guitars in the World.
Co-presented by Labyrinth and the Princeton Public Library and co-sponsored by Princeton University’s Department of Gender and Sexuality Studies.