Last week, former Elite Gymnastics songwriter James Brooks released an excellent new EP as Dead Girlfriends. As Brooks wrote on his Tumblr, the name was inspired by the radical feminist Andrea Dworkin, who suggested in her speech Mass Murder In Montreal: The Sexual Politics of Killing Women that radical thinkers can measure the progress women are making in society by counting “the dead bodies.”
Dworkin said in that speech:
“We count the numbers of rapes. We count the women who are being battered. We keep track of the children who are being raped by their fathers. We count the dead. And when those numbers start to change in a way that is meaningful, we will then talk to you about whether or not we can measure progress.”
Brooks elaborated on his reasons for the name:
i kind of like that it is sort of an unpleasant name, i remember watching this episode of roseanne where darlene was having some friends over and dan the dad was DJing some classic rock and darlene’s ornery goth friends were like “this music sucks! play some hole!” and dan was like “WATCH YOUR LANGUAGE YOUNG LADY” like no shots but no ones’ parents would ever get offended by teenagers saying that they liked to listen to “beach fossils” or “animal collective” you know?
Yesterday Brooks updated his Tumblr saying he would be changing the name from Dead Girlfriends to Default Genders because it “had an effect he didn’t want.”
this is a post where i tell you that i have officially changed the name from “dead girlfriends” to “default gender”
the name sort of had an effect i didn’t want, and it took me a little while to think of another phrase i could use that contained words that start with D and G so the artwork with claire’s drawing would still make sense. it doesn’t roll off the tongue as easily but thematically it makes more sense i guess
i’m in the process of changing all the URLs and stuff that it’s possible to change, changing the name in the actual artwork and website header and stuff will take me longer and i can’t do anything about the press that’s already out there with the old name, but it will probably come out in the wash eventually
i apologize to anyone who’s inconvenienced by this but especially to anyone who was upset or offended or grossed out by the old name, and to the other band that was using the name first
Personally, I like both names and don’t mind which one he uses, I am just glad these songs exist. Hear the thought-provoking first Default Genders single below.