Manicured Nails, My Right to Abortion and a Damn Good Iced Coffee

Girlhood. It’s a terrain as complex as it is universal marked by its commodification, demonization and idolization. In its essence lies a social and biological experience more fraught than any other. Recently, my reflections explored the politics of girlhood — essays laden with dense jargon, lamenting the systems that uphold its persistent scrutiny and sexualization. And while not dismissing the relevance of this discourse, in the midst of it, I found myself losing sight of its fundamentals.

O’BRIEN | Loving Rock N’ Roll As a Woman


At some point in my early teens, I started listening to rock music. Classic, punk, alt, grunge — I would stay up late into the night listening to and reading about my favorite ‘70s-90s era band at the time. In high school, I eventually came to the realization that pretty much all of the artists on my silver iPod nano were male. At first, this did not necessarily strike me as strange, or as a problem — I just accepted that the good rock music was made by men; that the deep scruffiness of a man’s voice was a necessary part of the rock equation. But I eventually became much more interested in introducing gender equality to my playlists.