We can be heroes? Not anymore
I was born in the 1970s into a family of musicians and music lovers. For as long as I can remember my life had the soundtrack of Thin Lizzy, AC/DC, Motörhead, David Bowie, Queen, Blondie and Heart in it.
I grew up with a background track of first 70s glam rock, then 80s power ballads, 90s grunge and now as I get older an eclectic taste that runs from opera to heavy metal.
I'm also a feminist. For a while I have juggled my feminist viewpoints with my musical history. I saw Motley Crue twice last year in their "final tour" supported by Alice Cooper on the last occasion.
I was 6 when Motley Crue first got together. I can remember my cousin having a huge Motley Crue poster in his bedroom and me being fascinated by these men who looked like women. I loved Shout at Devil, Theatre of Pain, Girls Girls Girls and Dr Feelgood, albums that played on rotation with other popular 80s hairspray rock throughout my formative years.
When I saw them again this year I thought about the misogyny in their music. The many many thousands of young girls and women who had thrown themselves at these men, all for a chance for a quick fuck and a modicum of attention from their idols. I can't deny that it left me with a very uneasy feeling, especially now being the mother of female teenaged music fans myself now.
Lyrics that hadn't bothered me before jumped out. For example "Girls, girls, girls" talks about various strip clubs, including The Tropicana, The Body Shop and The Seventh Veil amongst others, and even has Tommy Lee cat-calling and wolf whistling to an unseen "girl".
I remember vividly when Gary Glitter was exposed as a paedophile. My uncle immediately gathered his Glitter albums and ticket stubs from gigs he had attended and threw them in the bin muttering "dirty fucking bastard!"
This morning the press announced the death of David Bowie. Bowie has always been a musical icon in my family. It seems completely surreal to me that I didn't know about his well publicised interest in young girls. It was only this morning that I was directed to this information. How this had passed me by completely astounded me.
My initial reaction to his death had been one of sorrow. That this musical genius was no more.
However once I had heard about how he reportedly took a 13 year old's virginity my sorrow turned to stunned revulsion. I've seen some already try to defend it "oh they threw themselves at him", "it was different back then", "she didn't say no!"
These defences horrify me. A 13 year old, like it or not, is a child. A 13 year old cannot consent to sex. A man who engages in a sexual act with a 13 year old is a child rapist.
I cannot erase the impact that the music had on me. That would be like forgetting my whole childhood and teenage years. However I cannot ignore that society turns a blind eye to these men who have no qualms with abusing children for their own perverted pleasures.
I can no longer look at David Bowie as a hero, while I loved Motörhead Lemmy's attitude to women sickened me, Motley Crue may have rocked my musical world for 35 years but I no longer admire the men as men.
Child rape, whether you are David Bowie or David Jones, is child rape. The fact that Bowie felt that it was acceptable to rape a 13 year old virgin should be challenged. If we can't hold these "superstars" to account then what stops these abuses continuing? What changes the "man in the street's" attitude to child rape? You cannot sweep child rape under the carpet no matter how big the name.
Bowie's music will always have a place in my heart, David Bowie himself won't though.Download this post as PDF? Click here