Alex Blaze

Alternative Divas, reclaiming diva love

Filed By Alex Blaze | February 18, 2008 5:19 PM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment, Media
Tags: Arcade Fire, Dana International, Dixie Chicks, Laurie Anderson, M.I.A., Natalie Maines, Regine Chassagne

It's no secret that the idea of diva love usually bothers me, but I think I'm going to have to examine that a bit further. I think it stems from the fact that I don't like being told what to think or what to like, that since I'm a boy who likes kissing other boys I'm supposed to worship at the altar of Cher or Bette Midler.

Well, I never liked a lot of the hyper-marketed traditional divas, I never really understood that aspect of our culture, but I'm thinking that if all diva love is meant to be is just really liking a female performer to the point where you put up posters all over your house and always play her music and go to all her concerts, then I guess there's nothing wrong with that.

So I was thinking of a few ideas of awesome alternative divas, like women performers who don't get the gay male love usually but who totally deserve some more attention, and that's all after the jump.

Laurie Anderson

Why she never caught on in the community more than she did, I'll never know. But here's her "Smoke Rings":

iPhone users: Click to watch

Laurie probably one of the gender-benderest artists out there, with her short haircut and pantsuits. As in the video above, she's willing to take on the idea of rigid gender constructs and point out the folly in placing too much stock in them.

She's also pretty sex positive too:

iPhone users: Click to watch

Well, if there's sperm the size of whales, then imagine the size of the penis those came out of. Yes, Laurie Anderson is speaking to the size queens among us.


Yeah, I'll admit to getting really into her new album over this weekend. But if you take a listen, you can hear why:

iPhone users: Click to watch

Ever since she burst onto the music scene three years ago, I've been a fan of the West Londonah. The way she mixes diverse beats with more traditional hip-hop sounds is too cool for school, but then add in the violent anti-globilization lyrics and this music has you wondering just what the message is in the space between aesthetics and text.

And the result of her hip-hop is usually a thumping beat and a catchy message:

iPhone users: Click to watch

K, now why isn't M.I.A. Miss Thing among gay men?

Dana International

Some alt divas don't have any problem calling themselves that:

iPhone users: Click to watch

And not too many people had a problem with that either, considering she won the 1998 EuroVision music competition. The Israeli transsexual singer has been on the stage since the mid-90's and is still producing some of the poppiest music this side of the Atlantic.

She's also pretty outrageous:

iPhone users: Click to watch

K, we have an outrageous and beautiful techno singer, I think that the international diva love can begin.

Régine Chassagne

The multi-talented hurdy-gurdy, accordion, xylophone, piano, organ, drum, and percussion player, vocalist, and song and arrangements writer from the Arcade Fire has total diva potential:

iPhone users: Click to watch

Régine's at the top of her game right now as the band is winding up yet another world tour after releasing yet another amazing album this past year. But what's truly stunning about Régine's position in the phenomenon of a band is that she's worked on what makes this band great: the complex arrangements.

She also has quite the stage presence. Here she is rockin' the accordion so hard she could convince even the koolest of the super kool kidz that the accordion is in again:

iPhone users: Click to watch

Natalie Maines

Yeah, good-effin'-bye Earl:

iPhone users: Click to watch

The lead singer from the Dixie Chicks knows a thing or two about standing up to conservative fury, just like we've had to do all our lives. And talk about a talented singer! There's a reason conservatives were so upset that she'd say something not-so-kind about Bush a few years back, and it isn't just what she said, it's that she's an objectively awesome artist saying what she said. If she sucked, no one would have cared.

Besides that, she's a woman who stands up for what she believes in and doesn't back down under pressure. What's not to love?

Here's her paying tribute to one Stevie Nicks:

iPhone users: Click to watch


The point of this post isn't to say that these women "are" divas or that if people don't recognize them as such they're stupid. I've just been thinking about what the word "diva" means, and, lately, it's beginning to seem like it's just a word attached to any female performer who wants to pick up a trendy gay audience and sell a few CD's to the gay men. (*cough* *cough* Britney Spears *cough*)

I dunno, since diva love isn't going anywhere, maybe we can turn it into something wonderful, like an acknowledgment of a talented woman in music, and the love many a gay man has for strong women can be directed towards them. Maybe something like "diva love" can be separated from "divadom" to create a space for personal expression and independent admiration.

This post isn't meant to be labeling a bunch of artists divas in the way VH1 does it for who knows what stupid reasons, but to expand our idea of what a diva can be to include people who aren't marketed as such.

In other words, let's reclaim diva love.

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all of these women are FABulous! you, too, alex, boy or not...

Aren't they fab?

You're awesome too, jerindc!

I love Dana International. And she's trans.

And Natalie Maines is a country diva. No doubt about it.

Every gay boy I know loves M.I.A.!

I LOVE Natalie Maines!