On this day in music history: May 22, 1980 - “diana”, the eleventh studio album by Diana Ross is released. Produced by Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers, it is recorded at The Power Station, Electric Lady Studios in New York City, and Motown/Hitsville USA Studios in Hollywood, CA from November 1979 - April 1980. Motown superstar Diana Ross approaches Edwards and Rodgers about producing her after her children take her to see Chic at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium in the Summer of 1979. Never having worked with a major artist before, the producers agree to do the project. Sessions are arduous as they clash with the singer over their working methods, with the situation coming to a head during one vocal session when Edwards tells Ross she’s singing flat. She storms out of the studio, and does not return for several weeks (having gone to the south of France in the interim). After the sessions resume, there are still issues when she expresses her unhappiness with the way the album is initially mixed. The producers make some slight alterations and then tell her that if she still isn’t happy, she can remix them herself. With veteran Motown mix engineer Russ Terrana, Ross remixes the entire album, which creates more friction between both sides. So much so, that Edwards and Rodgers nearly ask to have their names removed from the production credits. Fortunately cooler heads prevail, and producers credit remains intact, though they insist that Ross and Terrana be credited for the remixes. In spite of all of the behind the scenes drama, the album is ecstatically received by the public, becoming the Motown superstar’s most successful release ever. Fans and critics are further taken aback by the striking black and white cover photo taken by legendary fashion photographer Francesco Scavullo (Seventeen, Cosmopolitan). Instead of the normally high glamour look Ross is known for, she is shown on the front cover with her natural length hair, wet and swept back, wearing a white top and blue jeans (borrowed from model Gia Carangi). The albums stark cover photo is contrasted, with a casual, glossy inner gatefold photo taken by famed photographer Douglas Kirkland (Look, Life Magazine). It spins off the hits “Upside Down” (#1 Pop & R&B), I’m Coming Out" (#5 Pop, #6 R&B), and a third in the UK (“My Old Piano” #5 UK). It is remastered and reissued in 2003 as a two CD Deluxe Edition with the original “Chic Mix” being released for the first time. The second disc features rare and unreleased remixes of several Diana Ross dance floor classics. The CD booklet also features annotation by former Record World and Billboard dance music columnist Brian Chin. In April of 2017, the “Chic Mix” is issued as a double vinyl LP set, pressed on translucent pink vinyl. “diana” spends eight weeks at number one on the Billboard R&B album chart, peaking at number two on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 5x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
Compulsory femininity has been on my mind a lot lately. As you can see from looking at my photos, I am highly feminine. I wear dresses, makeup, and perfume, I have painted nails, and I carry a handbag. I do that because it makes me happy and certainly not for the benefit of men (none of my boyfriends were into the high glamour look) but I’m not blind to the fact that it has afforded me a certain degree of privilege.
It is really frustrating to me when I see people acting like women who don’t wear makeup, or cut their hair short, or wear masculine clothing… or GNC women in general, are oppressing them somehow.
I know that people can be snooty to women who are highly feminine, I have experienced it myself, but I’m sorry, but someone telling you to lay off the lipstick is IN NO WAY comparable to the hate and vitriol that so many women experience for not performing femininity to a perfect degree. Not to mention the extremely high standards that trans women are held to, much higher than what is expected of cis women.
Like…. yes I experience misogyny, feminine women experience misogyny, but if you think you have it worse because you wear makeup and heels you’re fucking fooling yourself.