Tanya Pearson   Women of Rock OHP Principle Archivist & Curator      In 2014, while doing research on women rock musicians of the 1990s for a symposium on the history of censorship during her senior year as an Ada Comstock Scholar at Smith College, Pearson discovered a “frustrating lack of information” about the pioneering all-female bands she had followed as a teenager.  Pearson set out to close the musical gender gap by collecting oral histories of influential women rockers and thus beginning what has now become the "Women of Rock Oral History Project".

Tanya Pearson
Women of Rock OHP Principle Archivist & Curator

 

In 2014, while doing research on women rock musicians of the 1990s for a symposium on the history of censorship during her senior year as an Ada Comstock Scholar at Smith College, Pearson discovered a “frustrating lack of information” about the pioneering all-female bands she had followed as a teenager.

Pearson set out to close the musical gender gap by collecting oral histories of influential women rockers and thus beginning what has now become the "Women of Rock Oral History Project".

About

WHY DO WOMEN IN ROCK NEED THIS PROJECT?

The Women of Rock Oral History Project is a collection of digital interviews and written transcripts housed at the Sophia Smith Collection at Smith College, documenting the lives and careers of women in rock music, focusing primarily on artists who have been left out of the popular rock narrative. Started in 2014, by Tanya Pearson, the collection now consists of over 40 interviews. Our main initiative is to construct a more comprehensive history of rock music, as a whole, by creating a well publicized, diverse and accessible collection of personal histories.

Canons influence how we remember the past and rock journalism, media, and scholarship perpetuates a one sided, androcentric rock narrative.  Artists and music that fit easily into the existing  masculinist “sex, drugs, rock n’ roll” narrative are more likely to find a place in rock history, whereas those that do not are more likely forgotten or marginalized. Women do not easily fit and so they continue to be underrepresented. If they are represented at all, they are not given the same level of attention or granted the same access to audience as their male counterparts.

By creating space for women, trans, and gender nonconforming artists to share their personal and professional histories, we hope to contribute to the expansion of a more inclusive and accurate popular rock narrative.