Like many of their punk, post-punk, new wave, and indie peers highlighted on Make More Noise!, these female 2 Tone artists had meaningful and oftentimes quite profound thoughts to voice regarding sexism, sexual violence, and the experience of being a young woman in the UK during this time frame (which coincided with the emergence of feminism in the mainstream as significant force pushing for gender equality in the courts, workplace, and and at home).
For Make More Noise!, The Selecter's entry is the Pauline Black-penned "Black and Blue" (one of my faves) off Too Much Pressure, which is about being a lonely and outcast teenage girl. Given Black's childhood--adopted by a white family and one of the few non-white kids in her school and community--it's more than likely that "Black and Blue" is about being on the receiving end of racism, too. Even though The Bodysnatchers' single "Ruder Than You" served notice that the ska scene was not a male-only endeavor, the more universal "Easy Life" might have been a better choice for this comp, as it reflected how women were challenging British society's prevailing and entrenched attitudes regarding their role (something we're still grappling with today), and acknowledged how difficult it was to defy these expectations and fight for real equality. Rhoda and The Special AKA's recording of "The Boiler" (originally written and performed live by The Bodysnatchers), is an absolutely brutal and harrowing tale of date rape that deserves inclusion here, even if one can only stomach listening to it once in your life (that's all it takes to deliver its message).