"From Led Zeppelin to Nirvana, the term “rock ‘n roll” is practically synonymous with masculinity—rarely is the genre readily associated with even the heaviest woman-identifying hitters. But maybe that’s more about historical bias than anything else. Think about it: If white dudes are the ones penning the history of rock, maybe other white dudes are the musicians they’re more inclined to focus on. That’s exactly the basis behind The Women of Rock Oral History Project—a collection of interviews conducted by Tanya Pearson and backed by Smith College. In what started as a passion project, Pearson has now amassed over 30 interviews with powerhouses like Lydia Lunch, Alice Bag, and Donita Sparks. The aim is to change the way we think about the culture of rock by calling attention to the women, trans, and queer people who have consistently been major players in the genre—and breaking up an age-old boys club in the process."
January 9th, 2018
"This Thursday, rock stars and aficionados alike will meet at Zebulon Café Concert in Los Angeles for a night of music, history, and empowerment. The Women of Rock Oral History Project, a collection of digital and written interviews documenting the careers of women in rock n’ roll, is primarily located at the Sophia Smith Collection at Smith College, but the women highlighted by the project will be in L.A. for the initiative’s launch event."
"Thankfully, a kickass woman is tackling this issue. On Jan. 11 at Zebulon Café in Los Angeles, a panel of female punk-rock pioneers gathered for the Women of Rock Oral History Project. Tanya Pearson came up with the idea during her senior year at Smith College in Massachusetts in 2014 while researching female rock musicians for a symposium on the history of censorship. Focusing on the representations of women in '90s rock media, she discovered a lack of information on the pioneering all-female punk bands she'd followed as a teenager. Pearson set out to close the musical gender gap by interviewing influential female rockers and making their stories available via www.womenofrock.org."
January 19th, 2018
the la beat
"Ever since rock began, it has been kind of like a little boys fort with a big NO WOMEN ALLOWED sign....in order to get a more balanced history, Tanya Pearson started the Women of Rock Oral History Project."
January 11th, 2018
"Yes, on Thursday there will be a Women of Rock Oral History Project panel discussion at Zebulon, followed by a number of live performances from a handful of the musicians in attendance. Pearson says that these events serve to introduce a wider audience to the collection — the last thing she wanted was to curate something that would sit static in a university library, achieving nothing but grades.
“The events, and this is the first on the West Coast, are to introduce a wider audience to the lives and work of the people that we’ve interviewed,” Pearson says. “But also maybe to introduce the project to a kindly benefactress. People with the potential to donate so we can grow and expand the collection.”"
January 10th, 2018
los angeles magazine
“It’s the documentation at the hands of rock critics, rock writers and scholars—that’s the reason that it’s not more a part of the overarching history of rock ‘n’ roll,” says Pearson. “That’s what’s frustrating to me, the cultural context that a lot of male writers and scholars use when they’re analyzing and writing their books and their articles on rock music. The cannon on rock music as it exists, and rock history as it exists, is one-sided and therefore false. It’s been constructed in a way where women don’t fit neatly into it and so they get left out a lot.”
January 4th, 2018
"In recent years, there has been a flood of museum exhibitions, gallery shows, book signings and academic lectures about the history of punk rock — and almost all of these well-intentioned, nostalgic retrospectives have been deadly dull and lack any hint of the passion and immediacy of the actual music. But tonight's event presented by the Women of Rock Oral History Project, a fundraiser for Tanya Pearson's ongoing series of interviews with female musicians for the Sophia Smith Collection at Smith College, could be different."
"It has long been the case that, with a handful of exceptions, women have been relegated to the sidelines of rock history — at least as it’s been written by (mostly) men. In the year of #MeToo and women refusing to be silenced, archivist Tanya Pearson’s Women of Rock Oral History Project feels increasingly necessary."
January 4th, 2018
rock nyc live and recorded
"Last night, three different panels of discussion featuring women of different generations spoke about what it means to be a woman of rock. The first panel, which was composed of Patty Schemel (Hole, Upset), Julie Cafritz (Pussy Galore, Free Kitten), Allison Wolfe (Bratmobile, Ex Stains), Azalia Snail (LoveyDove), Michelle Gonzales (Spitboy, Kamala and the Karnivores) was focusing on women who were active during the late 80s and early 90s. Some of them were drummers, which was not considered a feminine instrument at the time, as Patty Schemel drummed for Courtney Love’s band Hole and Michelle Gonzales drummed for the groundbreaking all-female hardcore punk band Spitboy. ‘I never been intimated by a man’ said Patty Schemel talking about her time with Hole, ‘because I felt safe with the people in my band."
January 13th, 2018
daily hampshire gazette
"Tanya Pearson lives a life of research. She’s a Ph.D. student at UMass Amherst who in 2014 created the Women of Rock Oral History Project. It’s an ever-expanding collection of video interviews and written transcripts, housed at Smith College, documenting the lives and careers of women in rock who’ve been underrepresented — or not represented at all — by rock journalism and historical scholarship....."
the valley advocate
"Last week my colleague Jennifer Levesque reported on musician and rock documentarian Tanya Pearson’s efforts to challenge Wikipedia edits. While trying to revise entries on the free encyclopedia, Pearson discovered that many edits and entries weren’t getting past male editors due to thin (often false) claims of “poor sourcing.” This effectively has marginalized independent female, trans, and nonbinary musicians from having control of their own narratives on the site, and in some cases, having an entry at all."
the valley advocate
"A couple weeks ago I wrote my column based on the fiasco that is Wikipedia Vs. Women, where locally and nationally non-male musicians are getting edited out of the popular DIY online encyclopedia due to male editors not accepting articles from certain publications (with some being discounted just for having the word “feminist” in the title)."
"From the White House to the workplace, women all over the country have been taking a stand against misogyny. For her part, Tanya Pearson is taking a stand against sexism in rock n' roll."
An Evening with Three Legendary Rebel Women at Le Poisson Rouge, January 27, 2017: Margot Olavarria, Bibbe Hansen, and Alice Bag
“Rebel Women,” held just two days after the Women’s March on Washington, D.C.—and the satellite marches across the country and internationally—offered an opportunity to reflect on approaches to resistance, whether through music, words, or direct action."
March 23rd, 2017
Feminist Magazine Radio Interview KPFK 90.7
January 10th, 2017
Two Smithies Awarded Magic Grants for Novel Oral History Projects
June 24th, 2016
Women of Rock Oral History Project aims to create equal representation in rock music's narrative
March 11th, 2016
Half Hours of Power Show on Olio Media
Pio and Chelsie are joined in the studio by Tanya Pearson, Smith College undergraduate and creator of the first-ever oral history project on women rock 'n' rollers: the Women of Rock Oral History Project. Click here for more information.
February 16th, 2016
VALLEY ADVOCATE - Women Rock: sexism and music go together like rock and roll
Attending a Veruca Salt concert as a teenager in the ’90s, Tanya Pearson never imagined that 20 years later she’d be asking lead vocalist-guitarists Nina Gordon and Louise Post about sexism in the industry.A photo documenting Pearson’s reunion with the two band members last year — she interviewed them for the Women of Rock Oral History Project she started at Smith College — shows her squinty-eyed and beaming with fangirl excitement.
Click here to read full article.
January 25th, 2016
Hampshire Gazette - Women who rock: Sophia Smith Collection introduces first-ever oral-history project about female rock ‘n’ rollers
What do Pussy Galore’s Julie Cafritz and No Wave rocker Lydia Lunch have in common with feminist and Smith College alumna Gloria Steinem? Their oral histories can now all be found in Smith College’s Sophia Smith Collection, an internationally recognized repository of manuscripts, archives, photographs, periodicals and other primary sources in women’s history.
Click here to read full article.
November 15th, 2015
the sophian - recognizing women in rock music
A review of the October 2015 panel discussion featuring Alice Bag, June Millington, Kim House, Kristin Hersh, Julie Cafritz, and JD Samson.
Click here to read.
October 29, 2015