Ask The Rockabilly Socialite Interview

Ask The Rockabilly Socialite: Feminism in the Rockabilly Lifestyle

2:37 PMDollie Simpson

I was recently contacted by reader Hannah Mouyal who was doing a school project on feminism in rockabilly. For her final project she had to interview someone related to her paper topic, and she asked to interview me on the subject. I was honored because I don't feel like I often come across as feminist even if I am, and I am not always the most eloquent. I answered her questions to the best of my ability though. I thought I would share it here because it is an interesting topic, and some of my readers may be able to answer her questions better than I can.

1. What made you interested in Rockabilly in the first place? Really, rockabilly music was my first introduction into the rockabilly subculture. I have always loved rock and roll, and I wanted to see who first influenced many bands I liked from today's music. That lead me to listening to all eras back through time all the way to The King of Rock n Roll himself, Elvis, then people like Carl Perkins, Johnny Burnette, and Charlie Feathers. After years of being into the music, it started to permeate into all aspects of my life. 

2. As I've found in research, Rockabilly is more than just a music or style, it's an entire community of like-minded individuals. What about this community makes it so special and unique? I have tried a few different subcultures growing up, and what I like about the rockabilly community is that it is very small and tight knit. Everyone seems to know everyone else, like a web reaching far across the world. You can travel to another country and immediately know you have friends there. They will let you stay at their house, show you around and introduce you to new people. Pretty much everyone you meet in this lifestyle instantly becomes a friend because you both have so much in common. It's very unique to the rockabilly "scene", thats for sure! 

3. How integral is it to your Rockabilly lifestyle to emulate the quintessential 1950s housewife? Not at all really, even though people like to imagine that. I actually work and have a good career. Most women I know work. A lot even own their own businesses. Blue collar jobs are popular among rockabilly men and due to the current structure of the economy, inflation, and rising costs vs stagnant incomes, most people cannot survive on one income like our grandparents did. I wish this wasn't the case, but the world we live in is just different. We live fairly modestly and it's just not possible for us, even if I wanted it to be. We have a mortgage to pay! 

4. In today's society, women are encouraged to break out of the home and dismantle gender stereotypes. What do you say to the people encouraging this? I think it's good. The root of feminism is that both genders should be treated equally. It's not happening 100% based on men still making more than women in the same position, but its getting better. Women should be able to be whatever they want to be, whether that is a doctor, computer programer, tattoo artist or stay at home mom, and they should be paid and treated the same way as men in those positions. End of story. 

5. How might you respond to critics of Rockabilly who might say that it is only copying an era of female oppression? I would say that they don't know it very well. I know dozens of women in this lifestyle that created their own business and are very successful at it. These girls are strong willed and strong minded. The rockabilly lifestyle encourages and fosters that I believe. I like to joke that I am "under no man's thumb". Rockabilly has always been about being a rebel! I think modern rockabilly women take what they like out of the era, and leave the archaic stuff in history. 

6. One of your posts discussed the benefits of living a vintage lifestyle. Are there any things you would want to add to this list today? Not much I can add. I still think it's mostly good for the environment, good for small business and just some good plain fun! 

7. How do you see your role versus the role of your husband in the home? I see us 100% as equals. My husband and I both work and spilt household costs and housework 50/50. This works out for us. We never fight about money, which is supposedly the most fought about topic.  

8. I've always been in awe of how beautiful every Rockabilly woman is and admire the dedication the entire style requires. What is your opinion on the emphasis on beauty that the modern media enforces, and how do you see your own style in relation to that? I think modern media promotes a unrealistic ideal of beauty. I believe in being the best you you can be, but being realistic too. That is why the photos I post of myself on my site and social media are all unedited. I never edit the photos I take of myself for reviews and stuff. That's kinda like false advertising in my opinion. I also like to periodically post photos of myself without make-up and hair done, as a before and after. I like to show that it takes a lot of work to get to look like this. Makeup and hair is really all fake, and that people should try not to idolize things that aren't real. I don't just wake up like this, so don't get down on yourself that you don't either. 

9. So, rockabilly music was created out of rebellion of the stiff social climate of the 50s. Do you think that, today, the Rockabilly community has that same spirit of rebellion? What does the music mean to you? Oh yeah, 100%! We do what we want! If in the 50's they were rebelling against the social climate, today one of the things we are rebelling against is modern pop music. Rockabilly is rebelling against the over produced music of today, where the stars can't write their own songs, need auto tune and can't play an instrument. Good rockabilly doesn't make music with computers, they make it with talented musicians, vintage instruments, and vintage recording equipment, all in the same room, at the same time. Just like the golden days! 

10. Do you ever see yourself leaving the Rockabilly community or what do you see for your future within the community? Sure, anything is possible. I will always have a special place in my heart for rockabilly, but I do love change. In some respect I feel like I have conquered this life and may move onto something else. Maybe that is just crazy. Who knows. ha ha! 

11. In the spirit of thanksgiving, what are you most thankful for about being a Rockabilly and the entire Rockabilly community? All of my friends from all over the world! They are awesome. Someone is always there to help me out if needed. Also my husband of course, he is my best friend and partner in crime. 

What do you think of this topic? Let me know in the comments below:

XOXO
Dollie 

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7 comments

  1. Great Interview! Thanks for being a model for us at Heart of Haute!

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  2. So nice to see public explanations of how the two things can and do go hand in hand. So many people think otherwise and it's just not true at all.

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  3. There must be something in the air, I recently wrote a post about feminism & being a feminist (http://alittlepinupeveryday.com/2014/10/06/is-the-pin-up-culture-compatible-with-feminism/) after a number of things, including being asked about feminism and the pin up culture.

    I like your responses to Hannah's questions, they're well thought out and it's obvious they're honest too - I say she deserves an A* for her project ;)

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  4. This post really made me happy because it shows that feminism can come in so many different forms and "looks"

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  5. This is a great interview!

    What I love about rockabilly culture in relation to popular media and beauty is that in the rockabilly community we accept all shapes and sizes. Yes, being a rockabilly girl has a bit of a "look", but the individual and how she interprets it to be her own is far more important than conforming to a cookie cutter image of beauty.
    I also believe that us rockabilly girls dress for ourselves as opposed to what we believe society/the media/men/other women want us to look like.

    Lisa.

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  6. Thank you so much for helping out and for posting this! Loved getting to join the conversation.

    Hannah

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