Atypical Girl

by Unwoman

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The usual precursor to me writing a song with a pesky moral to it is a few different lines of thought coalescing. Maybe you'll find this interesting.

1. I’m reading Resilience & Melancholy by Robin James and it’s blowing my mind. I’m not sure I agree with all of her hypotheses, but the central theme about resilience, rather than frailty, being *expected* of women now, hit me like a ton of bricks. I’ve always taken pride in my resilience, I thought it made me special. Turns out it’s basic a.f. (but is undeniably quite handy in my dealings with the world, such as it is). I highly recommend the book.

2. Meanwhile, I’m thinking about The Slits’ “Typical Girls,” which came out in 1979 and which I really liked about 20 years ago and how badly those lyrics have aged, and so a large portion of this song is a response to that. I bet a lot of us used to think “you’re not like other girls” was a compliment — fortunately most of us have a better opinion of “other girls” now. In the chorus, I’m talking to men who would still use “not like other girls” as a compliment.

3. When I talk about “we” I’m thinking about how people who were told we were gifted, special, smart etc as kids are feeling especially pressured right now, to understand how awful the world is now, and to be the ones to fix it, and do it on our own somehow. But if we rebel in the prescribed ways we’re still feeding into “the system,” maaaan, which brings us back around to Resilience and Melancholy.


We walk hooded
Blinkered by mirrors
In separate voids
Convinced we are lone sorcerers
[And that knowledge is power]

Old tongues cluck remonstrance
We’re such bad bitches
Yet it’s permitted
So we are toothless

Yes we bite the hand that plans to be bitten
A rising demographic of nasty little women

So don’t give me that line that I’m somehow better
I am a typical girl we’re all in this together

Atypical girls create, rebel
Take no shit and give ’em hell
Lean in, fearlessly
Their bodies offer no apology
The male gaze can’t touch
They've overcome so much
Atypical girls wear their damage
Like Girl Scout badges

Atypical girls are typical girls now
A rising demographic of nasty little women
[Feeding the system]

So don’t give me that line that I’m somehow better
I am a typical girl we’re all in this together
I don’t deserve more because I seem to demand it
Take your reluctant respect and shove it

Maybe it’s OK to be fragile
Maybe it’s OK to be helpless
Maybe we don’t each need to be the strongest
Maybe we’re all just basic witches
(And maybe that’s OK)


released May 17, 2018


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Unwoman San Francisco

Unwoman is a San Francisco-based cellist-singer-songwriter. Layered with skillful cello, rich vocals, and electronically arranged beats, her solo music is a futuristic homage to her classical training. Unwoman has been featured at steampunk, goth, and sci-fi-related events all over North America and has performed with Abney Park, Rasputina, Voltaire, Amanda Palmer, Stripmall Architecture... ... more

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