Joan Jett was not like other 23-year-olds. But, what else would you expect from a woman who grew up idolizing Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin? When she grew into adulthood under the lens of the public eye, Jett's shockingly masculine style in I Love Rock 'n' Roll was not what the average 1981 MTV viewer was accustomed to seeing from a female music video artist. Her female contemporaries such as Cyndi Lauper, Pat Benetar and Madonna were more traditionally feminine, sometimes even overtly sexual. Instead bending her style to feminize or sexualize herself, Jett expresses her gender by exposing the audience to her raw, uncut personality. She was vulgar, genuine and the viewer got the sense that she had no intention to go out of her way to impress them. She was authentic, in the truest meaning of the word. Through the I Love Rock 'n' Roll music video with the Blackhearts, Jett expands and redefines the acceptable gender boundaries in early 80's culture by demanding response from her audience, taking possession of traditionally male experiences, evidencing the incredible breadth in potential of how "feminine" can be the visually manifested, and carving out a space for women in the male-dominated rock 'n' roll style.
Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Women's Studies
O'Mera, Megan Colleen, "Joan Jett in "I Love Rock 'n' Roll": Gender Boundaries and Female Address" (2013). Joyce Durham Essay Contest in Women's and Gender Studies. 7.
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