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Beginning to See the LightSex, Hope, and Rock-and-Roll$
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Ellen Willis

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780816680788

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816680788.001.0001

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Beginning to See the Light

Beginning to See the Light

(p.89) Beginning to See the Light
Beginning to See the Light

Ellen Willis

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter presents the author’s reflections about the music of the Sex Pistols and other rock bands. She also considers the reasons behind her dislike for women’s-culture music. She says that rock-and-roll music boldly and aggressively lays out what the singer wants, loves, hates, and in so doing challenges her to do the same. Thus, even when the content is antiwoman, antisexual, in a sense antihuman, the form encourages her struggle for liberation. In contrast, women’s-culture music either replicated all the virtues (simplicity, intimacy, community) and all the faults (sentimentality, insularity, heavy rhetoric) of the genre, or was nothing more than conventional pop. For her, too many of the women’s-culture people had merely switched from trying to please men to trying to please other women.

Keywords:   Sex Pistols, punk rock bands, rock-and-roll, women’s-culture music

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