The Curious Case of Nick Cave…The Feminist?

Published on The Daily Femme – Thursday, Dec. 9, 2010

Contributed by Annamarya

It’s no secret I’m a Nick Cave fan. In his own way, the musician/author/artist is a genius. The Birthday Party? Classic. Bad Seeds? Also classic. Solo work? Same. Grinderman? Classic possibilities. And his two novels–And the Ass Saw the Angel, and The Death of Bunny Munro–are thought-provoking, albeit bizarre and crass, works of art. But he’s also a strange, strange man who says strange, strange things that can leave a girl confused, like this latest gem froman interview with New York Magazine about whether he considers himself a feminist:

Well, I don’t consider myself not one. I’m not a misogynist, so you can dispense with that. I think I’ve done wonders for the feminist movement. I get criticized for a lot of what I write about, but as far as I’m concerned I’m actually standing up and having a look at what goes on in the minds of men, and I have the authority to talk about it because I’m a man. Women don’t have the authority because they don’t know what goes on in a man’s head, so largely what they say is kind of irrelevant. My songs and stories and books are character-driven, they talk about the way people are and the way men are and women are. I’m actually confronting certain issues that some women appear to feel are now redundant. [Interviewer: Like what?] The tension between the male and the female. I think a lot of them feel that that war was won long ago and I’m dragging the whole thing back to the stone age.

When I think feminist movement, I don’t think Nick Cave. And I’m trying really hard to scour the recesses of my mind to find an example of what he’s done for the feminist movement (anyone with examples?). It’s not to say he isn’t a feminist or doesn’t hold feminist ideals but the legitimacy of this self-ascription is easily debatable when you say things like “Women don’t have the authority because they don’t know what goes on in a man’s head, so largely what they say is kind of irrelevant.” To assert that we have no “authority” to talk about a man’s mind or that what we say about the male psyche is “kind of irrelevant” is a bit absurd, considering that, through human interaction and study, both sexes can learn a great deal about the intricacies of each gender and even reach the point of expertise. Plus, he’s written a great deal about women, both as subjects to be praised and as first-hand character studies, and while he did not say he “understands” women, he does say his works talk about “the way…women are,” which would indicate some type of emotional and psychological comprehension. Since he’s not packing lady junk, wouldn’t it be safe to say he has no authority to even dare write about women and such published works are irrelevant? What’s more troubling is that such line was said in the same breath of his staking a claim to feminism. To be so dismissive of our intelligence and understanding when it comes to gender studies just because we don’t have a penis is no different than being dismissive of our ability to work in constructionjust because we don’t have a penis–which, so you know Nick Cave, is misogyny, nulling-and-voiding your self-ascribed feminist label.

Also, I’m really not sure what he means by that last line…or in what world he lives where women are unaware of “the tension between the male and female”…or that the lot of us “feel that the war was won long ago.” Does he even know what the feminist movement means or what we’re working to achieve or that, really, nothing has been won but rather moved along and progressed but we still have a long way to go? Reading the quote over again, I really hope Nick Cave was making some type of sarcastic joke about the hypocrisy of statements (like saying you’re not a misogynist but then turn around and say something pretty d-bag) but if he’s not, I’m going to have to seriously reevaluate my fan-girlness.

New York Magazine: Nick Cave on Grinderman and Why He’s a Feminist


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