Sunday, 27 May 2012

Questioning Your Idols

As a person with feminist beliefs and also a vegan concerned about animal rights issues, it's inevitable that I will come across things almost on a daily basis that will conflict with my beliefs and sometimes it can be a really mish mash of feelings.

One of these points of contention occurs with some of the artists I play on my show and who are admire, for instance with said artist wears real fur or goes hunting. This can really put me off someone but sometimes it's a case of putting these said issues aside for the pure enjoyment of the music they're making- I don't have to 'like' the person behind the music- it certainly helps but for instance I've always enjoyed Madonna's music from an early age but she wears real fur and has been on pheasant shoots. I liked the person she was before she got into all that, and I still appreciate her music from the eighties and nineties- so I'll still play them even though I have ethical issues.

The most recent ethical issues really put me in a flummox, as this time was about someone I rate very highly- Amanda Palmer.

Not only is she such an amazing musician, but she done some pretty great things- like being open about not shaving, the whole 'rebellyon' issue in which her fans got their tummies out in protest to her record company wanting to make her look slimmer in one of her music videos. She also is very open and honest with her fans talking to them through her blog and Twitter, and making fans feel like they're her friends- and doing lots of awesome free gigs everywhere she goes.

All great right? Well then the first thing happened. Most of my friends who also are big fans didn't seem to have any problem with her Evelyn Evelyn project, but I felt really uncomfortable about it. I just didn't like the idea of her and Jason Webley dressing up as conjoined twins and selling it as 'art'. Then I found out that she laughed at the fact that she had upset disabled feminists with her idea.

I didn't agree with the project, so I just decided not to buy any of the Evelyn Evelyn music and put it to the back of my mind. Then, several weeks ago someone on my twitter feed was saying how she used to love Amanda Palmer but the music is ruined for her now because she's a 'hipster racist'

So obviously I was like "What???" so I looked at the link she had tweeted, in short Amanda had been talking about the use of advertising in things like music videos and T.V, and she had said somehting along the lines of "it's ok but only if it's for something ironic like the Ku Klax Klan"

Then not too long after I read that, The FWord posted a guest blog about Amanda Palmer being a feminist icon- there were dozens of comments- mostly negative- partially because the writer had sneaked in advertisement for the guitar company she worked for but also many, many comments linking to articles about both Evelyn Evelyn and the racism comment. To my surprise, there was hardly any positive comments and the article was taken down after less than a day.

All this happened and then Amanda started her Kickstarter project and announced in part of it that she would be doing a London show. I felt like I was split in two- I love her and know how great she is live and wanted to support her project, but all this negativity was making me feel uneasy. I saw the tickets go on sale and then sell out, as I couldn't make up my mind. And I didn't donate to the Kickstarter.

Then after all this overthinking and missing out on the tickets, just today with only a few days left of the Kickstarter I decided to donate after all.
Why? Well I don't think Amanda Palmer is a racist. I think the comment was a very stupid one to make but I don't think she intentionally set out to upset people. The Evelyn Evelyn thing and disablism I don't think I can ever see eye to eye with but the thing is I'm never going to agree with everything an artist does. I can't expect anyone whether in my life or a famous person is going to be flawless, it's easy to offend these days. I read another blog on The F Word about language and how certain words can happen people with mental issues and to be honest most of the things they mentioned are in such everyday use I had never thought of them before. Also because for me personally, the things I love about Amanda Palmer outweigh the negative.

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