January 31, 2008

Big Voices, Little Bodies

Filed under: media,music — embonpoint @ 3:33 pm

My fondness for Angry Girl Rock of the Lilith Fair-ish variety is well known to my friends and family, and so it wasn’t much of a surprise to me when my sister sent me a package that turned out to contain a CD featuring a female singer-songwriter. 🙂

And so I’ve been listening to Sara Bareilles’ Little Voice for the last couple of days and trying to decide what I think of it, musically. There are songs I love and songs I’m “meh” about, and I know myself well enough to realize that a month from now I’ll probably love the songs I’m “meh” about now and vice versa. At any rate, though, she has talent and I’m enjoying the album, it’s just a question of whether she’ll end up joining my mental Pantheon of Music Goddesses.

But wait, you ask, isn’t this blog supposed to be about fat?

I recently read The Health Institute of Nutrition’s satirical post about collarbones as the new and trendy marker of status and thinness, and so maybe it was inevitable that I’d zero in on the back-cover photo, unable to stop looking at Ms. Bareilles’ prominent collarbones and having thinky thoughts about the nature of the music business.

I’ve thought about this before, but it’s coming back to mind at the moment and now I have a place to vent. It bothers me, you see, that almost all of my Music Goddesses are thin. Tori Amos, Fiona Apple, Vienna Teng et al…all wonderfully talented thin women.

(Now I’m off on a mental tangent about Stevie Nicks and how snarkily my parents used to gossip about her weight ups and downs in the eighties. I was a kid and not indoctrinated yet into the cult of Fat is Evil, and could never figure out what the big deal was as long as she was still singing.)

There have been some trolls in my life who, when I complained about things like this, would respond with “You just want everyone to be fat because you’re not happy and you don’t want anyone else to be Thin And Happy either!” Nope, I don’t particularly feel any need for Tori Amos or Sara Bareilles or any other singer to get fat for my sake. I want them to be whatever the hell weight they feel happy and healthy at.

I just want to see some fat singers standing alongside them in the limelight.

The problem is twofold, I think–the music industry is more likely to give a break to a thin woman in the first place, and then once someone’s in the business, the pressure to stay thin has got to be horrendous.

I wonder how many wonderful songwriters, how many beautiful voices, we’re missing because they’re attached to fat bodies. (Makes me wish I were more into opera…)


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