I finished Sheila Weller’s Girls Like Us last week, and it was spectacular, but, man, it also made me really mad. I understand that it was the emotional atmosphere of the time that Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon and Carole King were getting there start, but all of these smart, capable, infinitely talented women got slapped around and treated like shit by so, so, so many men. I never got angry at them personally, but, oh, God, I got so mad at all the dudes in the book. All their shitty husbands and shitty boyfriends and, like Girls to the Front, it just made me want to go out and kick ass and take names.
It made me want to be awesome, which Mitchell, Simon, and King all were, so I guess there’s something good there. But it also made me want to shake them, not in anger but in — sadness? frustration, maybe, and shout at them, “Emotionally fucked up heroin addict James Taylor is not a safe bet! Jackson Browne hits ladies! Stop sleeping with younger men, they’re all stupid and jealous! Your career is more important than David Crosby’s1!”
I hate, hate, hate how much women’s worth in the world is measured by the man they’re with; I hate how much we measure it ourselves. (Which is not to say that I don’t love the Cowboy like crazy, because I do. But I was single for three and a half years, and I did a lot of my best work on myself and my photography when I was single. And now? Now he just encourages me to go out and be awesome. Because he loves me.) I take great photos. Joni Mitchell was an incredible songwriter. I would have been lonely being single for the rest of my life, but I would have been okay.
Why do we still look for male validation? Why do we let the world put us down? We’re amazing, ladies. We’re strong and fierce and we come from a long line of amazing women before us.
Go out and make something amazing. And if you see Jason Momoa while you’re out there being amazing, kick him in the nuts for that horrific comment he made at Comic Con a few weeks ago.
(If you’re interested in being part of an email list of women artists who are into supporting each other, drop me a line at asdonkar AT gmail. Musicians, photographers, writers, visual artists, any kind of creative pursuit; I want to start a list of like-minded women for support, ass-kicking, brainstorming, celebrating success and cheering up after failure.)
1: this is not necessarily true, but i am making a point.