Christine and the Queens

Christine and the Queens confronts gender and rules at WOMADelaide

feature (adelaide) | Read in About 3 minutes
Published 26 Feb 2019
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Christine and the Queens

French singer-songwriter Héloïse Letissier aka Christine and the Queens, or now simply Chris, produces their own style of 'freakpop' in a force against gender binaries and gender expectations. “One of the first songs I wrote, built over musical loops on my computer, was a curious rhapsody on the will to be saved by my own fluids, all odorous: sweat, blood, saps, everything they carefully try to scrape off young girls' skins,” writes Christine.

This creation of gentle females, to fit inside a particular shape and become what some might argue are ‘perfect’ girls, arguably begins at youth. Mass media and its forced ideals sculpt obedient, benign beings that quietly slip into society. “Deafening angers as I was skimming through our magazines; ‘is that all that we’re destined to?’ I only saw in there some cruel manual on how to properly disappear.

“It’s inescapable: very early, words and attitudes cluster you; the female is always threatened, either by enclavement or pure dissolution,” they write. “The most stinging punishment of all is to be casted out of what is fuckable.”

Anger fuels Christine and their creation of music. “I’m done with assenting. I’m done with pleasing the eye,” they write. Changing the world became their motivation. “If it felt impossible to play by the rules, I’ll infect them all; my disease would became chaos, and this chaos would became highly contagious.”  

Christine breaks these rules. Their open attitude and honesty starts a conversation. What is gender and why do we try to define it? “My eroticism is precisely what sets me free of those skimpy limits, this gender I’m assigned to,” they write. “I desired them all, but never with the same sex.”

The oppressive gaze on women rarely falters as it continues to influence so many aspects of living. “Our clothes are shaped to refrain our bodies from expanding, our pills are swallowed in the name of what must be regulated, our hygienes are yelled as necessary,” Christine writes. “As for our desires, they’re suffocated the very moment they arise – remember the insults thrown at the face of those who kissed eagerly!”

Christine’s music is a call to arms. A direct provocation of our gender-based rules and guidelines, so strictly enforced in the subtlest of ways. “Women with a sword, women with an appetite, women with a revenge, bloody witch: everything she’s asked to buy, she just told you she doesn’t want it.”