Here’s the least shocking bit of news you’ll read all day: Music, throughout history, has treated women really, really badly.
We’re not just talking about the obvious stuff, like 2 Live Crew doing “Me So Horny” or ‘80s cock rock like Warrant’s “Cherry Pie” (although both are very problematic, obvously). We’re talking about classic songs that you’ve listened to in the car with your folks, or slow danced to during weddings.
Lizz Winstead is sick of it.
“The songs that we love, that we grew up humming and singing along to, are horrible in how they define women,” Winstead says. “We’re looked at as pieces of meat, and inferior to whoever the guy is who can carry a tune.”
Do Re #MeToo: A Night of Sexist Songs Sung by Righteous Feminists is coming to the Cedar this Sunday as part of Winstead’s national Abortion AF Tour. A Twin Cities comedy pioneer, Winstead will be joined by a powerhouse lineup of local and national female musicians as they take back some of the most notable – and notably offensive – songs in history.
“Women have been defined in ways through art that is really fucked up,” Winstead says. “This is a night of inspiration, and our opportunity to reclaim the art.”
The show initially started in New York City when a group of female jazz singers got together and decided to perform songs that were clearly not meant to make them feel valued for anything beyond their ability to serve men. Sunday’s event will feature performances and commentary on some classic hits that you may never have bothered to listen to all that closely.
“There are so many songs that are basically saying, ‘Girl, I can’t wait until you’re old enough for me to fuck you,’ or that are about teachers wanting to fuck their students. And the onus is always placed on the woman,” Winstead continues. “The [Rolling] Stones have a bunch of songs where sexism is really rampant. There’s a Gary Puckett song that goes, ‘Young girl, get out of my mind.’ No sir, you get out of her mind. You’re a grown man. Queen’s ‘Fat Bottomed Girls,’ Robin Thicke’s ‘Blurred Lines.’ It’s endless.”
To help her belt out the hits, Winstead has recruited an A-list lineup of musicians including Tina Schlieske from Tina and the B Sides, Lori Barbero of Babes in Toyland, Annie Mack, and more insanely talented female and non-binary musicians.
“Each performer has her own inspired choice to perform,” laughs Winstead. “And it’s not just one kind of music. It’s rock, folk, jazz; everyone puts their own unique spin on it.”
The show isn’t just about poking fun at horny old men, however. Each show of the Abortion AF Tour partners with a local nonprofit, to help inform audience members about what’s at stake for abortion rights locally.
“The most awakening thing for me is realizing just how little people know about what’s happening in their own home states,” she says. “They hear about what’s happening in Alabama with the abortion ban and things like that, but they don’t realize that these things are happening everywhere.”
To help turn that motivation into action, for this show Winstead has partnered with UnRestrict Minnesota, which is raising awareness about the anti-choice laws in Minnesota and what individuals can do to protect the health, privacy, and human rights of all women.
“That’s one thing I really wanted to focus on with this tour. I didn’t just want to get people riled up and then leave,” she continues. “I wanted to get people riled up and tell them what they can do to get involved. Signing a petition and posting on social media just isn’t enough, so it’s about learning how to take action.”
As for her own role in the show, Winstead will be the master of ceremonies for the evening, but don’t be surprised to hear her show off her singing chops.
“I’ve got something planned, but I’m not going to tell you what it is,” she laughs. “Let’s just say I’m a duets person.”
IF YOU GO:
Abortion AF Tour: Do Re #MeToo
7 p.m. Sunday, July 21
All ages; $25