SR: New Pop seems in retrospect to have involved a step backwards in terms of women-in-pop. You had some striking and "strong" female performers, like Annie Lennox, but it was back to the format of female as front person with the music being done by the band, or their case, the guy...
Gina Birch / Raincoats: "Yeah. I mean, after The Slits and that whole era, there was nothing interesting really until Riot Grrrl. Madonna and Annie Lennox--they were icons in a way. But they were more the hero than an inspirational force. Whereas you saw The Slits and that made you want to be creative. You see Annie Lennox and wow, she's brilliant, she sings fantastic. But there's that real distance. It's much more the showbiz model."
SR: But then you later had a bit of postmodernist New Pop type moment with Dorothy--you and Vicky's post-Raincoats band. Signed to Chrysalis Records and based around a
kind of post-feminist idea of playing games with archetypes of female glamour.
Gina Birch: ""Yes, Dorothy was my showbiz moment! The main thing behind it was CindySherman. I just thought her photographs were fantastic. I liked the thought that each picture told a certain story and had a certain look. She could be a professor or someone really glamorous. Judith Williamson had written a fantastic article on Sherman's work in Screen magazine--about this idea that when you wake up, you decide what you're going to wear and that decides what person you're going to be that day. I really liked the fact that you could put on this item of clothing and throw off your personal shackles--all the kind of introspection that went into lyrics like "she looks embarrassed" on Odyshape--and just be whatever character I wanted to be. And it was very liberating to be, you know, a sex kitten if you felt like it. For our press shots, we based it on this photograph of Joan Crawford where she was signing these glammy photographs of herself. I liked this idea that you can construct whatever image you wanted. And in many ways that's what Annie Lennox and Madonna did."
from Totally Wired: Postpunk Interviews and Overviews
Motown versus Motown
"Being a woman is both feeling female, expressing female and also (for the time being at least) reacting against what a woman is told she 'should' be like. This contradiction creates chaos in our lives and if we want to be real, we have to neglect what has been imposed on us, we have to create our lives in a new way. It is important to try and avoid as much as possible playing the games constantly proposed to you" - Ana da Silva, Rough Trade information booklet on The Raincoats