I was directed to this interview with Kate Nash via feministing and thought it would be a great opportunity to write about a woman artist I have loved for years now. I love her songs, especially for those times when you’re driving in the car and just want something to belt out. But more than that, I’ve always admired the way that she presents herself as a strong, but human, woman in her songs. Take “Foundations” for instance:
The song/video chronicles the downfall of a relationship—complete with insults, bad dates, and (metaphorically?) fighting socks. She is blunt and strong in the way that she addresses her boyfriend, with lines like, “Don’t want to look at your face because it’s making me sick,” showing how she is an independent woman who isn’t willing to put up with a boyfriend who throws up on her shoes; if you ask me, that’s pretty feminist. But the chorus is also based around the line, “I know that I should let go, but I can’t”—she shows that even though she’s a strong woman, she still has trouble ending her relationship because she’s a person with emotions and memories to hold onto. I think she manages to portray the experience of a lot of self-respecting women who have found themselves in a bad relationship, and in doing that, brings some nuance to what it means to know what you should be doing as a feminist but to find doing that difficult. Plus, it’s a really cool, fun, unique music video.
Aside from the way she expresses herself in her music, what I love about Kate Nash is the way that she’s also willing to be very frank about her feminist beliefs in words. In the BBC video linked to above, the interviewer asks her if she is a feminist, and she responds, frankly but with a twinge of sarcasm: “Yes, I’m a feminist, and I think everybody should be—because feminism is just about equality of the sexes, which is something we all believe in, don’t we?” Both she and the interviewer laugh, I believe because the issue of feminism is clearly more complex than that, but her point comes across loud and clear—she, unlike many female artists today, has no problem labeling herself as a feminist. And that is something not to be belittled, because many celebrities have trouble and negative associations with calling themselves feminists—take Lady Gaga, for example.
And she’s not just all talk, either. While I don’t follow her compulsively because I don’t really follow celebrity gossip at all, and therefore am certainly not an expert, the way she presents herself is feminist in the way that she exudes a strong sense of self-worth. In the the interview she goes on to describe (briefly, of course—she only has five minutes total) how she doesn’t believe that it is her “call of duty” to use nudity to advance her career like many other women, even though that may surprise many people in the media. She doesn’t criticize women who do, but simply stands by her choice not to feel the need to do scandalous photo shoots just because she is a woman. And that, to me, is what feminism is all about: standing by your own personal decisions, but not spending your time bashing on other women and the way that they choose to live their lives.