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Revolutionary Women in Music: Left of Center: Home

Revolutionary Women in Music: Left of Center

As the saying goes, well-behaved women rarely make history – and revolutionary women have often used music and lyrics to take action, convey truth, and call for change. For generations, women have fought against socially constructed gender norms in order to obtain equal social, political, and economic freedoms.

With the title inspired by a Suzanne Vega song, ReVoLuTiOnArY WoMeN in MuSiC: LeFt of CeNtEr uses artifacts, images, and video to look at the work of courageous, groundbreaking, rebellious musicians, from the 1970s to today, who use songwriting, music, and performance to subvert societal norms. The exhibit comprises three parts: OpHeLiA, PuNkS & RuDe GiRlS, and MaTriaRcHs, RiOt GrrrLs, & TrUtH TeLLeRs. These musicians have challenged traditional gender roles; created inclusive, supportive communities that are respectful of women’s diverse experiences, identities, knowledge, and strengths; and empowered women to realize and embrace their authentic selves. The work of these women continues to not only tear down boundaries in the music industry but to shed light on social injustice throughout the world.


   Library & Archives staff have created research guides for each part of the exhibit and linked those and related Inductee guides above. See more on


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