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Scene Solidarity: Boston musicians describe what ‘Yes All Women’ means to them

 
 

Friday night’s show at T.T. The Bear’s Place in Cambridge has the look of a mini-festival, but the feel of something more. The seven-band bill was curated by Yes All Women Boston, a volunteer group launched in June that’s an extension of the #yesallwomen Twitter conversation that shines a light on misogynistic violence and harassment, while raising awareness on gender equality.

Their mission is clear: “Yes All Women Boston is a movement of feminists, many of us musicians, to unite people of all genders in creating safe, supportive environments where women’s voices can be heard through music, art, spoken word, and in their everyday lives. We seek to empower women, educate the public, and engage communities in building a world where all women can be free of violence, oppression, and fear.”

In addition to that, as well as providing showcase for some of the city’s musical talent, the Yes All Women party doubles as a benefit for Girls Rock Campaign Boston. Each of the participating bands — Magen Tracy & the Missed Connections, Ladymob, Drab, Viva Gina, Awaaz Do, Solo Sexx, and Band Without Hands (as well as DJ Lizzy Pitch) — feature an either all-girl lineup or strong female presence as songwriter, producer, or leader (or all three), and all draw on their own experiences with the global campaign of #yesallwomen.

So we decided to reach out directly, and describe what the term “Yes All Women” means to them. Here are their responses, with their music included, to properly reflect the opinions of the musicians involved with the show, some of which are members of the Yes All Women Boston organization. For more on Friday’s show, click here.


“Yes All Women Boston to me is a push towards getting rid of ‘top ten female performer’ lists and getting into ‘top ten performers,’ where females are appropriately represented.”

Jess Jacobs, Band Without Hands, Yes All Women Boston Music Director


“To me, ‘Yes All Women’ refers to the shared experiences of women in society, and an attempt to raise awareness of and support for our particular struggles. In the context of this event, it’s a community of women with a shared background as female musicians (and as women in culture at large), and a communal effort to band together, share our voices, fight, mourn, and celebrate to help this cause in the best way we know how: with our voices, our enthusiasm, and our art.”

Magen Tracy, Magen Tracy & the Missed Connections


“To me, #YesAllWomenBoston is 21st-century feminist praxis. We are taking what we understand about the systemic violence against and intimidation of girls and women, and fighting it by occupying public spaces, starting with the stage.”

Saraswathi Jones, Awaaz Do


“Yes All Women means solidarity and inclusivity to me and I’m a big fan of both of those things. There’s a feminist author who says, ‘never give a woman up,’ meaning we have to support each other no matter what — despite personal, romantic, creative or professional differences — because we’re on the same (disadvantaged) team. So this has become my mantra. I work in a women’s archive, devote myself to representing women historically, and in my spare time I play in a band with Sophia (and Jason who has the heart and soul of a woman) and we get to play fun rock shows with other women which is great.”

Tanya Pearson, Drab


“#YesAllWomen means so much. It is what we hope to see in our future. It is empowering all genders to treat women with the same respect that you would expect for yourself. It is empowering women and young girls to stand up and make a change for the better, and to not be afraid to do so. It is a support system and a movement.

I feel so privileged to be a part of a show where we can all express ourselves as women and not feel afraid. It is a man’s world as ‘they’ say, when it should be everyone’s world. A world where any person can express themselves and be who they are, and not fear that they will be patronized, criticized or experience misogyny.

I always write my lyrics in a very open and honest way about my experiences. A lot of Ladymob’s songs are about my personal experiences with violence or misogyny. They are also about my disapproval of seeing the same things done to others. It is always scary when I put it out there but I do it anyway because I want to see a change. If I can be a part of a positive change then it’s all worth it.

The guys I play music with are so supportive of the message of the songs we play together and the #YesAllWomen movement. That says something. This isn’t only affecting women in a positive way. Men are being affected by this in a very positive way, too.”

Shannon Reynolds, Ladymob


“#YesAllWomen Means: The day when I am assessed in an unbiased way on my merits and not my gender whether consciously or unconsciously. Musician, Professional, Caretaker, Human, Lover, Friend.

Leesa Coyne, Viva Gina


“To me #YesAllWomen stands for the fact that no one has the right to disrespect or hurt you or your body based on your gender expression or what’s in your pants. No one. We are all human, let’s treat each other with kindness, compassion, love and respect.”

Jac, a.k.a. Prince Gina, Viva Gina


“We are not in an equal position yet but we are trying – the whole thing for me is about equality and continuing to be that example and strong support for our future girls so they understand how self worth and respect are so important.”

Nancy, a.k.a. Gina Valentina, Viva Gina


“#YesAllWomen came here to rock, so you better look out when they melt all your faces – yes: ALL faces.”

Leilani, a.k.a. Killer Gina, Viva Gina


“#Yesallwomen means that my success isn’t seen as the exception to my gender, but the rule. It’s when little girls grow up fearless, never having to hate themselves for not measuring up to impossible standards meant to distract us from our true power.

#yesallwomen means a world where our chromosomes don’t determine our ability to define our lives for ourselves. When womanhood includes all gender expressions, all sexualities, all representations, without judgement or exclusivity. When women can be wrestlers, rappers, activists, parents, scientists, engineers, educators, acrobats, all at the same time — if they want to. Where instead of being told no, women are told #yes …and get the opportunity to choose what they say #yes to right back. Where nothing is off limits.”

Heather Mack, Solo Sexx


Yes All Women Boston show poster created by Frank Germano of Man On Fire design…

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