Cloudbusting -- Kate
Bush In Her Own Words
Kate doesn't feel that the music business is particularly difficult
for women to break into. In fact she believes that, at the moment, record
companies are pretty receptive to female talent.
- Women weren't as determined in the past as they are now. The more
female artists that get in, the more that will be allowed a chance. It's lovely
to think that I could be an example to other girls. I don't feel that strongly
about the women's movement. I think male chauvinism is just a gesture; men who
are sure of themselves have no need to put women down. (1982, Nineteen)
Do you consider yourself a feminist?
- I really react to that word, and I think probably the majority of
women - but I don't know - would feel the same. Feminist is one of those words.
When you hear ``feminist'' you go ``"ummgh!'' It's a ``concept'' You get all
these terrible images - like women with hairy legs and big muscles. And I mean
you just think of butch lesbians. I think the media's been playing around with
it, but I also think there are an awful lot of groups that basically don't like
men, and they tend to get quite a lot of publicity. And they are terribly
aggressive and quite illogical: ``What have we got men for!'' I think a lot of
women feel very confused by the whole thing - I know I do - where you've just
got to get in there - that's the thing - and work!
- There are a lot of women who - obviously - want the same
opportunities, who don't want doors shut in their faces. But you know we should
help each other, for God's sake, we shouldn't be fighting against each other.
We should be working to help each other. And men have to be educated as much as
women do. We have both been really conditioned. Okay, we are different, we have
to recognise that, but we should be able to work together and help each other,
and I think we can. We are all sort of sitting here feeling confused, both the
women and the men! Or alternatively, the men are out there being chauvinist
pigs and the women are out there being feminists. But there's a lot in the
middle, a hodge-podge of people, just trying to adjust.
You have actually charted a very independent course yourself, and
in some ways you'd offer a definition of what feminists would want women to be
able to do.
- I would like to think that there is actually a very strong force of
women who believe we should have equal opportunities, be able to work, be
treated nicely without any threat, all of that. And not necessarily come on
with ``We hate men - Off with your balls!'' Do you know what I mean? And I
think there are lots of women who are starting to really do it properly. Look
at comedy. I think comedy in this country is incredible. The best. It really
is, it's superb. I suppose a lot of it is negatively based, but it still is
superb, and just streets ahead of anyone else in the world. But, I
think women have been used so much in comedy. Either there's something really
hideous and ugly that's meant to be attractive, and then when it's hideous and
ugly everyone goes ``aah!", or there's Benny Hill's cutie-pies that don't
speak. But now there's a revolution in comedy which involves women in a much
more interesting way. They're not being used as women, they're not really
pretty or really ugly, they're just people. I think that really says a lot. And
it's nice to see that, because so often I think women are pandered
to. Like: a couple of years ago there was a trend of these feminist programmes
that were meant to be for women, and they were all basically anti-men jokes.
And all the women I knew thought they were horrific. It was totally insulting
and unfunny. Yet women were presumed to laugh at this. Women came on and told
jokes just as sexist as the men's. But it seems to have changed. It's women -
Victoria Wood, Jennifer Saunders, Tracey Ullman - it's women, real women.
(1985, Hot Press)
What sort of comedy are you
- Well, I love all the Comic Strip
stuff. Ben Elton's writing is superb. I think all those people are just so
inspiring. It's exciting! There should be something like that happening in the
music business, too. There should be a real centre of inspired, talented
people, putting out stuff that makes you think, that re-educates people. I
think they have done a lot for women with their comedy. They can be women
without being used as some sex object, or something to be made fun of. Women
are actually women in their comedy, and I admire that.
I think it's all right for women to be a sex object, if that's what
they want to be.
- Absolutely. Yes.
Are you a feminist?
- Yuck! God, I hate that word. It's like calling someone a Sadist! I
think it's really unfortunate that word has been so associated with very
extreme... extremist persons. Radical behavior. And I think although it
probably had to be put in a bit at the beginning, I think all women are rather
offended by that term now. What really has power is when you get people like
Jennifer Saunders and Dawn French up there doing something really good, as
women, being people, just being women. Women just getting on with it and doing
it, and doing it well. Which I think a lot of women are doing now. And there's
not such an alienating process going on between men and women. (1989, Greater London)
Cloudbusting / Subjects / Feminism