Tuesday, October 05, 2021

M(h)aol deliver some much-needed disruption with new single ‘Gender Studies’

Irish feminist post-punk band M(h)aol have recently released their hauntingly powerful and extremely badass single ‘Gender Studies.’

The Dublin-based five piece are re-shaping the post-punk music scene in an attempt to transform the predominantly male narrative. ‘Gender Studies’ is a disarming and unapologetically assertive track that challenges us to be deliberately confrontational in the face of judgement.

Consisting of Roísín Nic Ghearailt, Constance Keane, Jamie Hyland, Zoe Greenway, and Sean Nolan, M(h)aol have appeared on RTE news, and have even been mentioned at a National Women’s Council Conference.


The record boasts sprawling punky guitar riffs and Nic’s nonchalant, yet sarcastic tone flows through lyrics such as “Why don’t you study my gender? / Tell me I’m no fun anymore / I used to be quiet, and pretty / You liked the old me more.”


Listeners are plunged into the relatable theme of moulding their identities in order to make other people comfortable.  With ‘Gender Studies’, M(h)aol give us the freedom to reflect on moments where we may have experienced this in our own lives, and rightfully question why we ever had to put up with it in the first place.


The band address similarly essential themes in their previous release, ‘Asking For It.’ Nic provides us with lyrics such as: “How much did you drink? / And what did you do?”, and “Was I asking for it?” In doing so Nic assertively and intelligently weaves in open-ended questions that confront and reflect on societal conditioning.


Throughout ‘Gender Studies’, lyrical content such as “We fight this dirty war / And I tell you that you’re trash / And you call me a whore / We’ve nothing gained and nothing entered / And there’s no outcome we haven’t seen before” echo the conversations many women and non-binary people unfortunately experience.


The lyrical content also underpins Nic’s sense of frustration and reinforces an unsurprised attitude in her tone. This is also detectable within the steady and dependable drumbeats on the track.


With ‘Gender Studies’, M(h)aol remind us of just how vital it is to be true to ourselves and stand firmly empowered by our beliefs and identities. The song supports the notion that it is completely okay to be comfortable in our own skin and it is our absolute right to take up space as raw and unapologetically honest versions of ourselves. Why shouldn’t we? After all, everyone else is already taken.


Felicity Giles


Image: M(h)aol 'Gender Studies’ Official Single Cover

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