All the girls in town
The missing women of Australian rock, cultural memory and coverage of the death of Chrissy Amphlett
Keywords:cultural memory, gender, Chrissy Amphlett, Australia
This article will use the cultural and media materials produced around the death of Chrissy Amphlett as a way of interrogating the fact that surprisingly few resources exist that document or commemorate the contribution of women to the rock music scene in Australia. As Amphlett is unusual in being a woman who has, even before her death, claimed a place in the Australian rock canon, examining materials that are designed to construct her legacy upon her passing will provide examples of how women in Australian rock are discussed. It will be demonstrated that Amphlett’s gender is central to these discussions, and that she is used to both obscure the contributions of other women performers and to deny a need for women musicians to even be an object of discussion at all. These findings will be analysed using Aleida Assmann’s concepts of functional and storage memory, and it will be argued that the lack of information that we have about past female rockers makes it harder for women in Australia to see this field as one they can participate in, and also makes the retention of memories about currently successful women musicians less likely.
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