Brigitta Davidjants: Our historiography has been male-centered

Brigitta Davidjants.
Brigitta Davidjants. Source: Alan Proosa

This year's Music Journalist of the Year, Brigitta Davidjants, was a guest on the culture program "OP" to discuss subcultures and why so little is known about women in them.

Davidjants began her investigation by questioning why the punk scene considered to be overwhelmingly male. "I knew so many girl punks that I began to doubt whether this was true." When she started her investigation, a complex and compelling story began to emerge, she said.

"The most interesting finding for me is that we thought certain subcultures were only a Western phenomenon and did not exist here, but we had all of the major movements present here," she added.

Lõngused — a colloquial translation for both Estonian and foreign rockers — were a subculture of young people that developed in Estonia in the second half of the 1950s, and is one the most interesting subcultures of the time, she said. Similar subcultures in Western Europe and the USA were called rockers, Teddy Boys (UK), Greasers (USA) or Raggars (Scandinavia).

"We do not know much about the Teds from the United Kingdom right now, but if you start digging and searching, you will find a lot about them in the Soviet Estonian media, where they were condemned and ridiculed."

Concerning the Estonian Lõngused, Davidjants said that she was curious as to whether there were any girls among the lads. "We must be able find them; when I first started reading Soviet publications, I noticed a lot of loud female rock-and-roll'ing."

"For a very long time, our history writing has been male-centrist, perhaps because it has been written by men," she said.

"We often believe that subculture is about music, and I have discovered that was my own preconception as well, but for some people, it is about style, and for others, it is about literature. "Subcultures are very important for today's youth as well, she said. "I thought emos had disappeared but my 13-year-old daughter talks about them all the time!"


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Editor: Kaspar Viilup, Kristina Kersa

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