Monday, July 27, 2015

#JOTW: Joy Williams's Feminist Rallying Cry, "Woman (Oh Mama)"

#JOTW (Jam of the Week) is a new article theme that I'm hoping to recur. These songs could be new or old but resonate to me personally so much that I'm playing them quite a lot at current and wanted to share the conversation with you.


This right here is one of those better-late-than-never obsessions of yours truly.

I best associated Ms. Joy Williams as the female half of the under-explored The Civil Wars troupe but was well aware she was an accomplished solo artist both pre- and post-Civil Wars. Why I didn't choose to peruse her latest solo album, Venus (out at the end of this past June), before now, I couldn't tell you. Maybe because I closely gamed her with the non-pop strain of Christian/Americana music. For that, I am sorry -- I was clearly missing out.

"Woman (Oh Mama)" was the first glimpse into the project, released back in March, and it's quite literally the feminist rallying cry the 2010's has been missing -- like Helen Reddy's "I Am Woman" (Hear Me Roar), but with less proclamation platitudes and more dirty truth about the way women are treated by society, by misogyny, by men, and by other women.

Women dream, Woman hate
Woman cry, Woman break
Woman hold you in the palm of her hand
Woman changing the mask on her face
Woman stand with her feet in the fire
Woman only one thrown in the flames

Considering the true meaning of being a #Feminist is wanting true equality of both men and woman (and don't you dare try and twist it toward being anything BUT that), I feel like this argument is apropos. Its deeper meaning can be affixed to all sorts of political struggles at the moment, too.

I'm even more over the moon that such a pro-female statement is coming from an artist that I -- as I said -- was best known as a "Christian" artist. You can read into that however you'd like to; I for one prefer a separation of church and state in my politics and in my pop music. It's hard for me not to be overwhelmed by sheer happiness by Joy William's offering up a pro-female statement like this, quite literally baring her soul in the music video. The backlash from her "fandom" in response is also not really surprising, but is also proof that we have a long way to go in teaching people that 1) nudity isn't necessarily a sexual device to make a statement, 2) being a "good Christian" doesn't necessarily equate to this misogynistic misdirect of Biblical statement that a woman/wife is somehow lesser to a man/her husband. People demeaning Williams for this video are simply providing evidence as to why her song is so honest and true.

I won't go too deep here, it's not worth it. The point is this #truth is coming from a woman who many would at least assume comes from a more conservative thinking and that is a beautiful thing. We're overdue for people to stop letting their politics being solely affected by towing their party line rather than using compassion for their neighbor. The greater message I received from this song is this: we are all  human, and therefore all equal. That's something that, in 2015 apparently, needs to be drilled into all of our skulls.

All this over a rollicking foot stomper of a beat. It's hard for me to get this off of repeat to be honest.

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