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Throughout years of memorable musical works made by female and male artists, female artists have never gained the credit they truly deserve. ‘Best Song lists’ have hindered the growth of female musicians from demanding their place in history. Ann Powers, a music critic for NPR, is trying to change the canon by creating a new list called “The 150 Greatest Albums Made by Women”. Furthermore, the term canon is used to develop the most accurate list of a subject such as Best song lists or best albums. Powers argues the canon has been corrupted by focusing on male artists in history and not giving the credit to female artists who actually shaped music history, and how this is a problem extends to not only the music industry, but in the whole entertainment industry.
Powers states from “A New Canon: In Pop Music, Women Belong At The Center Of The Story,” that the exclusion of female artists from lists allows people to believe in the possibility of them never having an impact on music history. Lists shape people’s minds to be under the impression that the people who made them understand the subject the most, but everyone has certain bias regarding the style of music, generational and regional sounds they prefer. For example, when most people think about who shaped the Rock ‘n’ Roll genre, they remember Jimi Hendrix or Nirvana although the Go-Go’s and Joan Jett were just as influential. The big difference is that the lists made in that time do not include the female artists as important as the males.
The new canon Powers assembled included women voters who ranged generationally, and backgrounds such as music critics to DJs. One gains their music taste through aesthetic, economic, social and historical values, so these women were able to come up with a list that expanded boundaries and created a story of women’s true influence in musical history. This canon is supposed to give recognition to these female artists how they shaped history not just as a gender issue, but to prove women deserved to have their moment in history be immortalized.
Additionally, this problem of women being pushed out of lists, can also be found in other areas of the entertainment industry. When researching other types of ‘best lists’, another list was found on Quartz, a digital global business news publication, “The 100 best directors of the last 25 years, ranked according to thousands of critics’ reviews.” Not surprisingly, only 6 out of the 100 directors listed are women. After a search on Google for “Top 100 Female Directors,” the results were appalling. First, there is no official list, but only fan made from IMDB. Secondly, the first link that comes up is an article by Vulture called “100 Women Directors Hollywood Should be Hiring.” These lists are all male dominated exposing that our society as a whole still values men over women no matter how much progress the feminist movement has gained. This is connected to Powers essay because these women “need to be acknowledged for their vision.”
The movie, American Psycho, was directed by a female, Mary Harron. American Psycho was influential in the cinematic world, yet she is not listed as one of the best directors. Instead these women are just valued as rare forms of talent that are anomalies that do not get put on lists. Canons can never be fair for everything is based on opinion. Everything is boiled down to one point as Powers states, “without a serious revision of the canon, women will always remain on the margins.” Women are not just lucky, they produce real works of art just as equally as men if not more. People from every industry need to give credit to women for how they influence, shape, and impact society.
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