to operate in a space where violence is not the answer. Girl, Departed’s images are unorganized,
disembodied, and misunderstood by the high-brow elitists. I am claiming this to be a by-product
of her amateuristic approach to the camera, and that this approach is heavily influenced by the
socio-development of the young girl. Again, no one teaches girls.
To elaborate, I turn to The Slits. At the height of political unrest in Europe, The Slits were
the first-recorded all-female punk rock band from London in the late 70’s to early 80’s. The
drummer and founder of the band, Palmolive, defined the band’s unique sound by her
“virgin-mind” approach to the drums.
As described by Bruce Smith, Palmolive’s drumming
would “kind of fall apart and get back up again… you had to sort of pay attention. And if you
were just there for the sort of rock and roll and the beer, then you weren’t going to like it.”
Because of Palmolive’s limited knowledge of the instrument, she was able to reject the rules by
not knowing the rules in the first place. It was never supposed to be easy for people to hear; they
were not doing it for people to enjoy. Guitarist Viv Albertine said “we consciously thought about
getting girl rhythms into music and concluded that female rhythms were probably not as steady,
structured, or as contained as male rhythms.”
Ari-Up, another member of The Slits, points to
there being a “very systematic pattern to boys’ music… when you hear girls’ stuff it is like… the
tide coming in and out… so, I don’t want to sound like I’m trying to categorize us being
emotional and the boys are logical. I just mean that in musical approach, they are ruled by rules
more than we are.”
Unitarily, The Slits were pointing to something inherent in the feminine
experience at some prior developmental stage that dictates these guiding cannons of
experimentation, amateurism, aggression, and deconstruction. Girls know they have to figure it
Raha, “Number One Enemy: The Slits.” 79–85. Ibid.
Raha, Maria. “Number One Enemy: The Slits.” Essay. In Cinderella's Big Score: Women of The Punk and Indie Underground, 79–85. Emeryville: Seal Press, 2005.