Thursday, July 27, 2023

A Howl in the Darkness: Sinéad O'Connor

© Bryan Ledgard by Creative Commons license

Sinéad O'Connor understood the concept of tone policing long before we had a recognized term for what was happening to women in that era (and this one, too). She had the audacity not to care what people thought about her honesty, and she gave zero fucks about the discomfort people (mostly white, male) had with her rage. She raged against the patriarchy and the Catholic Church (which are pretty much one and the same) and it turns out she was right about them all along. For women my age (Gen X) she was such a scorching figure—one of righteous indignation and incandescent passion—that she burned our eyes. She validated us at a time when people were still raising their daughters to be silent. We weren't ready for her, and in many ways we still are not. I know she was traumatized, an abuse survivor, struggling with mental health issues throughout her life, and that her voice was a howl in the darkness. I'm so glad we were given the gift of hearing it.


  1. I wish I'd understood earlier what she was and what she was doing. Internalized misogyny runs deep.

    1. I have always felt that we left her out there on her own. Collectively, women have a lot to answer for.