Björk & Atwood in harmony

Björk released a new album, Vulnicura, and it is stunning. She describes the creation of this album as an huge embroidery piece, and it is complex, beautiful, and interwoven marvel. I am a little bit obsessed with her massive string orchestrations of her songs – sweeping, massive, and yet so delicate and heartbreaking.

Her continued badassery and awesomeness was highlighted in this interview with Pitchfork where she talks about the album but also opens up about her experience of being a woman in the music industry over the last 30 years. And when she speaks out, she has powerful things to say.

Pitchfork - Bjork – Björk in Pitchfork

I want to support young girls who are in their 20s now and tell them: You’re not just imagining things. It’s tough. Everything that a guy says once, you have to say five times.

And this somber and thoughtful reflection about womens’ role:

That’s what women do a lot—they’re the glue between a lot of things. Not only artists, but whatever job they do: in the office, or homemakers. … It’s like the end scene in Mary Poppins, when she’s made everyone friends, and the father realizes that kids are more important than money—and [then] she has to leave. [chokes up] It’s a strange moment. Women are the glue. It’s invisible, what women do. It’s not rewarded as much.

This theme struck a chord with me, particularly as it has emerged several times to me in the last week in other areas of my life. This idea – the “woman as vessel” – a critical glue of the family, but one where the mother takes a back seat to the needs of those around her, and this contribution does not get the recognition that it deserves.

The extreme representation of this theme was in the interpretation of “The Handmaid’s Tale” ballet based of Margaret Atwood’s 1985 feminist dystopian novel, which I saw performed last week by the Royal Winnipeg Ballet at the National Arts Centre. In this work, women have essentially lost all rights in the society, denigrated to being wombs, whores, or cleaning up nuclear waste. I had read this book 10 (!!! – how is that possible?) years ago for a Grade 12 independent study project, and it was a tremendously impact book on my intellectual development, showing so clearly the issues of subjugation, and possibly for the first time really underlining the importance of the feminist moment for me. Seeing this ballet – beautiful, dark, haunting, brought all of this back in a sweeping wave, reinforcing for me Fannie’s famous cry:

Nobody is free until everyone’s free.  – Fannie Lou Hamer

But, as a new generation of humans work to pry the lid off issues of inequity, I believe that, in the long run, we are all going to win.

Pitchfork - Bjork 2– Björk in Pitchfork

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s