On Amanda Palmer’s “White Feminism,” A.K.A. Bigotry


I LOVED the Dresden Dolls in high school-early college. (I graduated from high school and started college in 2007.) I reviewed their first album for my college magazine. Then Amanda Palmer had this project called Evelyn Evelyn, fictional conjoined twins in a freak show. One song had the twins singing, “Have you seen my sister Evelyn?” (They’re conjoined?) The ableism! She lost me as a fan for life.

TW CSA, sex

Also, there’s her Dresden Dolls song “First Orgasm,” where the singer is masturbating and thinks that kids outside might have seen her from her window.

TW racism, genocide

Also, there’s the DD song “Backstabber,” in which Palmer sings derisively, “You’re down with the Japanese!” This is ambiguous. Does it mean, “You think you’re cool loving anime, etc.” or “You’re as bad as Japanese people?” I’d hope a “feminist” could clarify, but no. From the same song: “Rotten like a crack whore/Begging out the back door.”

TW abortion

Anyone who shares their abortion story is being brave and vulnerable.

TW transmisia

The song “Sex Changes” is very transmisic. The lyrics are vague, but they conflate a hypothetical trans person “regretting” transition with anyone feeling “changed” by sex (meaning here, first having sexual intercourse). The opening lines apparently mock the idea of gender-neutral titles/pronouns.

TW Holocaust

There’s also the DD song “Mrs. O,” which combines references to the S and M erotica novel The Story of O with a story of a kindergarten teacher who brings up the Holocaust to her students but DENIES IT.

TW victim blaming/abuse, more ableism, sexism

I can’t forget about the song “Delilah,” about a frustrated “friend” who blames a victim for being abused and then calls her a mental illness slur: “You’re an un-rescue-able (slur). . .Or else, you’re on the rag! You slurs never learn!” So, now she must be emotional because she can menstruate?! And: “If you take him home, you get what you deserve!” I’m careful not to assume songs are autobiographical, but the narrator here is named “Amanda.”

TW self-harm

When questioned about the song “Bad Habit,” which clearly, explicitly describes violent self-harm, Palmer was deceptive, saying that it’s about habits like biting/picking one’s nails.



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