But how can a woman write that! | Opinion


“What to do when a woman has written something? The first line of defense is to deny that she has written it.” This was pointed out by the novelist Joanna Russ in 1983, but she could have said it yesterday because it is still there, very fresh, fully valid. Let them tell Damon Albarn, leader of Blur, that he must walk without a fingerprint from blocking users on Twitter so much. “They have thrown me into the abyss of social networks,” he lamented on Tuesday, on stage in Los Angeles, who was a posh banner of the culture of beer, colleagues and soccer that triumphed with the britpop of the nineties. Without a trace of any push, the truth is that he had thrown himself into that hole.

In an interview he gave on Monday to Los Angeles TimesNot only did Albarn have the audacity to claim that “Taylor Swift doesn’t write her songs.” When journalist Mikael Wood corrected him to say that of course he did and that he co-wrote many of his songs, the Gorillaz founder stuck to his guns: “That doesn’t count.” Swift, who has composed more than fifty of her songs by herself, was quick to reply via Twitter. Over there she won’t be seen much, but every time she comes back she provokes a shot of adrenaline, short-circuiting and exploding every algorithmic bubble: “She was a big fan of yours until I saw this. I write ALL my songs. Your hot opinion is completely false and VERY harmful. You don’t have to like my songs, but it sucks that you try to discredit what I write. WOW”. And she added a clamoring postscript: “Wrote this entire tweet by myself, in case you were wondering.”

With more than 100,000 retweets and up to intervention in the conversation of the new Chilean president, Gabriel Boric (“You have a great group of people who support you and who know that you write your own songs from the heart”), Albarn replied to Swift. apologizing and throwing balls out before tremendous mud (“in a conversation about composing I have been sadly reduced to clickbait”). Beyond the joy of seeing one of the Oasis enter the rag (“Great composer”, Liam Gallagher tweeted asked about the pique of the day), the Blur leader’s denial about the authorship of an artist who accumulates 11 grammys at home revives a tiresome tradition. That determined to deny women who write and who, daring them, above all do it successfully. Because it doesn’t just happen in America. The ignoring of female authorship is a timeless, sticky and highly contagious phenomenon. “There is a somewhat macho conception that a woman artist can never decide how to make her music, or direct her career in her own way, control her work; as if someone, or a man behind her, had always had to shape her, ”Amaia Romero denounced in an interview on S Fashionalso tired of being made to feel like a puppet in the industry without being any of that.

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She couldn’t think of it for herself, Mary Shelley’s Mario Praz implied, convinced that if Frankenstein succeeded was because “she was a transparent medium through which the ideas of those around her passed.” She didn’t write it alone, she told herself of Charlotte Brontë and her jane eyre in 1848, when Percy Edwin Whipple considered that his brother Branwell had gotten his hands on it because “there are details in the emotions of the mind that … often go unnoticed by a writer”. She compiled it by Russ herself in How to end women’s writing, a classic on the strategies to ignore the authors. There she remembered that even about the teacher of dystopias, Ursula K. Le Guin, many reputable editors of the eighties said: “I have not yet read Le Guin, but it seems that she is very good writer”. But how could a woman write that!

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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