Peaches: “Feminism is growing exponentially, but there’s still a lot of work to be done”

We caught up with the Canadian provocateur and asked her what happens if Feminism gets too trendy.

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Feminism is experiencing a bit of a moment right now. Google Beyonce, and people are arguing about her credibility as a Feminist. Go on Insta, and at least someone you follow is using #FreeTheNipple. People are paying attention to women and their rights more than they’ve been in a while—which also means they’re paying attention to women in music. Therefore, it’s an interesting time to be a female musician—but it’s an especially interesting time to be Peaches.

Since her debut in 2000 with the album The Teaches of Peaches and its iconic track “Fuck the Pain Away”, the Canadian artist has been aggressively, unapologetically loud and in your face about her Feminist ideas surrounding sexuality, gender roles and power structures. Her latest album, Rub, is a testament to that: with lyrics bluntly pointing to sexual desire and gender fluidity, and music videos featuring LGBT orgies and body positivity, it’s perhaps her most crucial work to date. Sure, it’s a solid electro-pop album featuring heavyweights like Kim Gordon—but that isn’t what makes it crucial. Rub is immensely important because of its timing: its release collided with the current trendiness around Feminism. As such, Rub has catapulted Peaches’ ideas, once considered radical, into a palatable and intriguing position within mainstream culture. Peaches has always been a reference point for discussions around Feminism; it’s just that now, she’s a reference point for more people than ever before.

Yesterday, Peaches played Roskilde Festival. We took a few minutes to catch up with her beforehand about her ideas around herself and modern Feminism.

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GIRLS ARE AWESOME: Hey, Peaches. Throughout your career in the music industry, you’ve projected a consistent message around Feminism and sexuality. However, you’ve been doing this for over 16 years—so how have you personal perceptions of the two changed throughout that time?

Peaches: First of all, I don’t consider myself part of the industry. I’m happy to infiltrate it by playing festivals or being seen in certain magazines with a mostly male readership. It isn’t a bitter attitude: it’s just that I don’t really feel part of that system. Secondly, it seems quite trendy for people to herald feminism now. I don’t think that’s a bad trend: I’m not mad at anybody who is interested in intersectional feminism. However, we definitely need new words to describe everything around us. In that way, we also have to be very careful that we don’t live in a bubble because of our ideas. I’m considering you girls part of this bubble.

Although these ideas around Feminism exist in a bubble, do you feel they now have the chance to genuinely impact the world outside of the bubble?

There is a huge world out there that is completely opposed to all of this—that wants to keep the patriarchy as it is and wants to keep religion as a way of keeping people under control. So, we have to remember that even though all these things are trending – rights for transgendered people, rights for gay people – there’s a flip side. In some ways, there hasn’t been a bigger time for transgendered people to be killed, and there still aren’t many health resources available for people while they’re transitioning. There’s still female mutilation going on in some countries: there’s still a lot to be done. Maybe now people see me as important and have whole new ideologies or opinions about what I say, but all the problems we still have are beyond something I can impact.

Does the fact that people see you as “important” put you under pressure?

No, I just do my thing and if they want to call me important one day and not the other day, it doesn’t matter to me. It’s just something that sort of happened one day.

Video NSFW.

You’re also consistently matter of fact and confident in your persona. What does it take to make you tick?

It’s connected to what I said before. I think Feminism is growing exponentially, but there’s still a lot of work to be done. We must make sure we aren’t under the illusion that everything is solved. There are still a lot of people with a super conservative attitude. That attitude is damaging to our world and damaging to people’s psyches. That’s what bugs me.

Since people are exposed to so much information now, it seems like it’s getting harder and harder to shock or provoke them. Has that changed how you view your role as a provocateur?

Has it really, actually… (chuckles). It hasn’t really changed at all, to be honest, but I feel that there are more people interested or talking about it. However, most people just talk about it: I don’t see it displayed on stage much. We’ll probably see more and more of that, and I wouldn’t mind if that type of provocation was the norm.

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As blunt and confident as you are in person, you are even more so in your lyrics. Is there any topic you wouldn’t feel comfortable addressing in your lyrics?

Well, I can only relate as much as I can. I am a queer, white, female, Jewish person, so anything beyond that is only something I can relate to as a concept but maybe not as a first-hand struggle. So I would never tackle first-hand struggles that aren’t my own, even though I am willing to support those people.

You’ve always had a consistent message, but is there anything you haven’t said yet that you need to before you’re satisfied?

Well, no one’s ever satisfied, right. But I think I’ve made some fantastic albums and also the movie, Peaches Does Herself, is something that will live on, too. But who knows: we’ll see what happens in the future.

Thanks, Peaches.