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Stuff Lesbians Love: Stevie Nicks

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Stevie Nicks was the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice. Gay Star News writer Greg Hernandez claims that Stevie Nicks’ “legion of younger fans” is due to an episode of Glee that featured Fleetwood Mac’s 1977 album Rumours and the episode of American Horror Story where Nicks played a singing witch. I disagree. Stevie Nicks has always had many lesbian fans. She’s an erotic, powerful woman with admirable honesty in the face of misogyny and — obviously — she’s a witch.

Lesbians love a bit of feminism and so does Stevie. In 2013 she was quoted by Rolling Stone’s Dan Rys as saying she “sees women’s rights slipping, and [she] hates it.” That’s probably because Nicks comes from the era where giving men exactly what they want wasn’t viewed as “empowering.” She said “what I’m seeing today is a very opposite thing. I don’t know why, but I see women being put back in their place. And I hate it. We’re losing all we worked so hard for, and it really bums me out.”

Vulture writer Jada Yuan claims that Stevie Nicks was “her generation’s great California girl sex symbol.” On one hand, yes Stevie Nicks owns an exciting, mystical sexual energy. But calling her a sex symbol is a big “yikes!” from me. Stevie’s sexuality is rare in the way she asserts such strict boundaries about who gets to look at her and what they get to see, despite being on stage for the last 50 years. However, a part of being a “sex symbol,” in my opinion, is performing for the male gaze, is utilizing the sexual expectations or signs that exist to become that “symbol.” A part of what makes Stevie Nicks’ such a feminist influence is that despite the fact that all women are inescapably subject to the male gaze, she resists sexual objectification. She owns her sexuality, not men. Calling her a “sex symbol” feels… disrespectful.

Nicks still suffers misogynistic double-standards, despite her witchy vibes. The world should be scared, alas, that even the most magical of us can’t escape patriarchy. Yuan goes on to congratulate the way Nicks “publicly fought her way back from drug addiction and weight gain.” Big yikes! I feel Stevie brewing up a spell as I write this. Drug addiction and weight gain are not the same thing. Comparing the two in Stevie’s case completely degrades how damaging a role addiction has played in her life. This sort of comparison only ever applies to women, too, especially those in the public eye. Furthermore, Yuan pointing out John McVie is “the only guy in the band Stevie hasn’t slept with,” as if 1. There’s 50 other men in the band and 2. Her worth is determined by how many people she’s intimate with, is a 2019 comment reminiscent of the early-2000s misogynistic treatment of Britney Spears.

Female rockstars like Stevie Nicks didn’t just fuel feminist gains, they inspired lesbians to have pride in their sexual orientation and, later on, they became sober inspirations. Yes, I’m talking about Stevie Nicks, Suzi Quatro and Joan Jett. Who else? I only wish I could add Janis Joplin and Amy Winehouse to that list, but they — heartbreakingly — didn’t make it out of 27 (an age I have only recently escaped unscathed!) to get sober.

Despite the “industrial level” cocaine addiction Fleetwood Mac shared during the 1970s, Stevie claims the Klonopin she was prescribed to ease her sleep problems after emerging from rehab for cocaine abuse, was the worst. She was addicted to the drug for eight years and said she “just existed,” which was more disappointing to Stevie than the nature of other drugs considered more harmful. She says “I always look back and think: what could I have done during that time? Made a Fleetwood Mac album or a solo record. I could have gotten married or had a baby or adopted one. Let me tell you, if anybody ever tries to put you on Klonopin, run screaming out of the room.”

‘Will I still be cool? Confident? Funny? Attractive?’ are common questions we ask ourselves when we question giving up the substances we’re dependent on. The answer is this: Stevie Nicks has been sober for over 25 years. She has made it to her late sixties, probably because she got sober. I saw her in concert a few years ago. I had the worst seats imaginable. We could barely see the stage. But it will always be the best concert I’ve ever been to and much of that is thanks to just how impactful Stevie Nicks is… with nothing but tea in her system.

Courtney Love is quoted as saying that Stevie Nicks is “like your fairy princess godmother, who’s gonna save you, and lives in a magical kingdom somewhere, and has, like, fabulous romances.” That’s evident in the above live performance of “Gold Dust Woman,” performed about 10 years after Stevie got sober. BRB, gonna go pray to Stevie.

AJ Kelly

Contact AJ at [email protected] or view the rest of her work on aj-kelly.tumblr.com

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