In this radical departure from the historic narrative of music and music writing being written by men, for men, This Woman's Work challenges the male dominance and sexism that have been hard-coded in the canons of music, literature, and film and has forced women to fight pigeon-holing or being side-lined by carving out their own space. Women have to speak up, to shout louder to tell their story—like the auteurs and ground-breakers featured in this collection, including: Anne Enright on Laurie Anderson; Megan Jasper on her ground-breaking work with Sub Pop; Margo Jefferson on Bud Powell and Ella Fitzgerald; and Fatima Bhutto on music and dictatorship.
A piquant reminder of the talent, musical and literary, that has always been under editors’ noses, if only they cared to look ... The best of these pieces alight on the intersection of music and identity, and how politics and personal relationships are often intertwined with our listening ... What binds these writers is their emotional connection to music, and their experience of songs as a portal to memories – whether painful or joyful – and a broader understanding of the world. This Woman’s Work is a collection of music writing, but in the loosest possible sense. Here, music is the soil in which all manner of stories take seed and bloom.
This Woman’s Work is billed as challenging 'the historical narrative of music and music writing being written by men, for men' and 'seeks to confront the male dominance and sexism that have been hard-coded in the canons of music, literature and film'. That’s laudable and very necessary, but it’s not anti-feminist to hope there is also also going to be irreverence, complication, thrills, ridiculous devotion, mystery and all the things that make the serious business of music so joyful. Glad to say, it’s all in there ... Beautiful pieces ... Bright and insightful ... While reading these passionate essays, I felt there was so much I wanted to experience, so much I hadn’t heard before.
... fearsome and eclectic ... There's strong work throughout the collection, but the most reverberant pieces tend to take the form of emotions-front girl-on-girl tributes ... richer for the fact that Gleeson and Gordon have sought out contributors who see the politics in making art.