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More about who I'm looking for: "Someone who's creative, but is not insane. Someone who is insane but will never reveal it."

Rock & Roll Camp
For Young Women

It's hard to talk about injustices and inequalities and imbalances in our society without using buzzwords and generalizations that totally turn some people off, or without getting caught up in the pain, misunderstanding, rage, frustration and fatigue. That said:

Why aren't there more Women in Rock?!

Because women* have both the restrictive social mores of Femininity and the hyped-up machismo of Rock working against them. And most record execs are men. But it's more insidious than that.

Those of us who aren't independently wealthy prodigies need encouragement and support to get good at things that take practice and equipment - like playing guitar, for instance. We need motivation. We need mentoring. And we need friends to play with.

Without being reductive, essentialist and cliché, how to describe the subtle process by which boys, rather than girls, are more likely to get good at playing guitar? It has to do with who you know and what they know; and what is normal for you to do together when you hang out; and what they are willing to teach and share; and your attitude toward, and opportunities for, making money; and what you are encouraged (by peers and magazines) to spend your money on; and what you feel you have to do to be appreciated - all of which depend on your gender.

No offense to guitar-playing men (some of whom are my best friends), but I think a lot of boys are motivated to get past that mediocre stage because they think that being really good at playing guitar will make them hot and then they'll get laid. So, while gender socialization is a limiting and inhumane process, sometimes, if a male child is intrinsically interested in an activity that is (luckily) considered “masculine,” then peer pressure and constructive competition will be beneficial for him, because he'll be pushed to keep working at it even when it gets frustrating. The things that girls are encouraged to do in order to be cool or hot or however else appreciated by their pubescent posse are not as empowering as guitar-playing.

Enter the Rock & Roll Camp for Girls

Rock & Roll Camp for Girls is a day camp in Portland, Oregon where girls from around the world ages 8-18 learn how to play instruments, play together in bands, run sound boards, produce shows, design CD packages and posters, develop basic self-defense skills and much more (June 16-21, 2003). The camp is staffed entirely by volunteers, and this year will feature workshops, performances and instruction from musicians including Sleater-Kinney, The King Cobra, DJ Pam the Funktress of The Coup, The Quails, The Gossip, Cherchez la Femme and Queen Size Revolution.

Boston's very own Aliza Shapiro (Truth Serum Productions) - who has 8 years experience putting on events and shows all over town, including CandyLand and Glitter Switch Drag Karaoke, running Pop Narcotic Records and managing many bands - has been invited to teach a class to 100 girls on event production/promotion and band management/promotion. This Friday the Berwick Research Institute hosts Send a Girl to Camp, a benefit for the Rock & Roll Camp for Girls, featuring a whole host of talent, a yard sale and raffle items from the likes of Kimchee Records, Mister Records, Cory Skult (zines), Paula Kelley, The Princesses of Porn with the Dukes of Dykedom, Sara Seinberg (package: one hour writing lesson or editing session, a jailhouse-style tattoo, a photograph and two tickets to K'Vetsh) and more, including a kissing booth!

*the words women/men, femininity/masculinity female/male etc are used with full cognizance of the irrationality of the binary gender system

Berwick Research Institute, 14 Palmer St., Roxbury, Friday, May 30, 7:30pm, $7-10 donation. For more info go to www.truthserum.org www.girlsrockcamp.org
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