Sunday, March 19, 2017

Women Who Rock and/or Make History: Sinead O'Connor and Sandra Day O'Connor

March is Girl Women's History Month.

Fact: girls can do things too!

Fact: girls can't do rock and roll, or so one might conclude from the paucity of females inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (motto: "We've got Randy Newman!"). Real fact: girls can do rock and roll (some of them).

Since I am enjoying getting on my high horse (or getting high on horse), I'm going to double dip with a series of girl-on-girl posts. It's a combination of a female musical act (or a band with a female member [possibly more]) that merits* induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and a female who did something like bake a cake or killed a guy (Laura Bush killed a guy).

Sinead O'Connor doesn't seem to want adulation. She doesn't seem to give a fuck about celebrity except when she's getting on a soap box and leverages the last of her 15 minutes to write an open letter to Miley Cyrus about how the music industry treats women, or to accuse Arsenio Hall of providing Prince with the drugs that he overdosed on, or to revise her professed sexuality, or to tear up a photo of the Pope. That kinda shit.

She also followed her multiplatinum I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got with Am I Not Your Girl?, a collection of covers, largely standards and show tunes. It's an album I like but can't imagine I'd recommend to anyone. Oh, and she tried reggae for a bit.

You've got to admit, there's a lot of rock & roll in her not giving a fuck.


Sandra Day O'Connor was the first girl to sit on the US Supreme Court, succeeding Potter Stewart in 1981. She served on the Stanford Law Review while studying law at Stanford (so cliché). After graduation, at least 40 law firms refused to interview her because she was a girl (you know bears and the menses). It was 1952 and bear attacks were everywhere.

O'Connor worked as a county attorney, a civilian attorney in the Army Quartermaster Corps and then became Assistant Attorney General of Arizona. From there she moved into the state senate and became the first girl majority leader. She served as judge for 2 courts of appeal before being tapped by Ronald Reagan to be the first girl!

And because she was a girl, men who don't like abortion didn't like her! Pro-life and religious groups opposed her on the assumption that she wouldn't overturn Roe v. Wade. Despite much bluster from many Senators (male Senators, duh) she was confirmed 99 to 0.

O'Connor's approach was to frame each case as narrowly as possible. Also she was very racist and refused to join any of Clarence Thomas's dissent opinions. She always wrote her own dissent opinions and refused to spend time alone with him.



* There is a wide spectrum of rock & roll gravitas for the artists included in the 31 I will include. I feel like a reasonable case can be made for each, and everyone one of these is at least as worthy as Randy Newman, 2103 inductee.

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