Soundtrack of My Life: “Sex Goddess of the Western Hemisphere” by Maggie Estep
The summer before my senior year of high school, MTV aired an episode of Unplugged featuring spoken word artists. These were mainly poets from the slam scene. I believe this was the first time I had heard of Maggie Estep:
Maggie Estep’s first record, “No More Mr. Nice Girl,” came out the next year and was soon on repeat in my first car. I loved how brash, confrontational, and funny she was. On the album cover, she is standing defiantly with her arms crossed in a black dress and black combat boots. She strikes a pose that is so tough, giving the insecurity that comes out in her confessional poems an added layer of levity due to the disconnect. I played the cassette so much that I literally wore it out.
This was the early days of the Internet, before Amazon and eBay had everything you could ever want. I searched online, unable to find a replacement copy in cassette or CD format. I wrote to Estep from her eponymous website. She wrote back, giving me a couple of places to search.
When I still couldn’t find a copy of “No More Mr. Nice Girl,” I wrote Estep again. She replied that she would see if she had some CD’s sitting in her closet and, if she had one, she would send me a copy. I still have the envelope the CD arrived in, since it came directly from the Goddess herself. She never asked for anything in return.
Estep died last year, and I immediately went back to that CD she sent me to hear her once again. Through stories in songs like “Hey Baby” lambasting cat-callers, she taught me about experiences outside of my own. Maggie Estep showed me that feminism is cool.
BONUS – check out the hilarious “Bad Day at the Beauty Salon” below: