One Look At My Music Collection Will Show You How Much I Respect WomenCommentary • Opinion • human interest • gender • sex • music • ISSUE 39•01 • Jan 15, 2003 By Randy Hollins Randy Hollins There are a lot of men out there who are hostile to women. And, to be perfectly honest, it shows in their CD collections. Not me, though. One look at my collection will show you how much I respect women. Go ahead and browse my CD shelves. My musical tastes are diverse, covering everything from Dar Williams to Norah Jones, Sarah McLachlan to Alicia Keys, but these artists all have one thing in common: They all clearly communicate my sensitivity to the issues facing women today. Some men are threatened by powerful women. They prefer them weak and subservient. Me, I'm the exact opposite. I mean, if I were threatened by women, would I own two albums by k.d. lang, a woman and a lesbian, no less? Any woman who browsed my CD collection and saw my copies of lang's Ingenue and All You Can Eat would immediately recognize that I'm a great catch, a guy who's secure enough in his own sexuality to honor and celebrate femininity in all its forms. Perhaps the strongest case for my respect for women is made by my Tori Amos CDs. I have them all, even her poorly received covers album Strange Little Girls and Y Kant Tori Read, the metal album she made in 1989. How could you not feel respect for Tori Amos—and, by extension, all women—after listening to the emotional rawness of "Me And A Gun"? Every time I put on Little Earthquakes, I get chills. Plus, Tori is so sexy on the cover. (In a feminine, earth-mother sort of way, of course.) Do you still need more proof of what an evolved male I am? Look no further than my abundance of Ani DiFranco recordings. I see Ms. DiFranco as the ultimate example of female independence and self-reliance. She turned down offers from major labels to preserve her independence and control her image. She launched her Righteous Babe label, first to put out her own music, then to put out records from other women artists like Sara Lee. She even lets people tape her shows and exchange the recordings, which is "righteous," indeed. You know who's incredibly strong? Eve. To be a proud, independent woman in the sexist, male-dominated world of rap, well, that's pretty impressive in my book. Lest you think I've forgotten the women who blazed the trails for the Joan Osbornes and Sheryl Crows of today, I have a broad selection of music by older female artists. Let's see, I've got Joni Mitchell, Bonnie Raitt, and, of course, Fleetwood Mac. Okay, so there were also men in Fleetwood Mac, but the band was defined by the incomparable Stevie Nicks, a woman who was a huge influence on many of today's brave female artists. I also love Billie Holiday, whose beauty and genius, sadly, is lost on the typical asshole frat guy you see on college campuses today. Like Brad Reidel. Why a girl like Jen Mosbacher is giving that Neanderthal the time of day, I'll never know. To be fair, I should clarify something. I don't love all female artists. I used to own an album by Sleater-Kinney, but I got rid of it. It seemed like they were trying to be like men, and that just turned me off. The Donnas also act all tough like guys, but they're just doing it as a put-on, so that's okay. It's really funny. Sexy, too. Right now, I'm saving up money for an iPod so I can carry all my women's music with me everywhere I go. That way, if I'm ever in a coffee shop and happen to see a blonde-haired psychology major who's listening to, say, Lauryn Hill on her Discman, I can show her that I like Lauryn Hill, too. You see, unlike men, women value making connections with other people, and what better way to do so than through music? Unfortunately, at this point in my life, I haven't really made as many connections as I'd have liked. If I could just get a woman to see my CD collection, I know she'd realize that I'm not like the other guys. I can really understand the female experience. In the meantime, I guess all I can do is go for a jog with my India.Arie CD in my Discman and hope to run into someone who wants to know what I'm listening to. Hopefully someone hot. God, I'm lonely.