Grrrls to the Front

22 Oct

Excellent discussion on “Women In Music & Media” featuring Emily Rems of Bust Magazine, Mindy Abovitz of Tom Tom Magazine, and Shirley Braha of MTV. (In order of feminist badassitude, as I perceived it.) Props also to Jessica Hopper, whose 2003 essay “Where the Girls Aren’t” was an inspiration for this post and clarification of a lot of feelings.

Standing in a crowd at a CMJ after show last night, I noticed that Sarah Marcus was right about the music of today. She recently told a college journalist that it’s very unusual today to see a lineup of bands without a single woman or girl musician- that Riot Grrrl had a tangible effect on who is inspired and empowered to start bands of their own.

Well, we haven’t come far enough. I’m not saying I want every college rock show to be Lilith Fair (but hey, it’d be awesome if a few were along those lady-loving lines); I merely want to see heavily increased representation of women in rock, pop and other music genres. I want to stand in an audience without having to hear the indie bros next to me comment on how hot the “token chick” in the band I’m trying to enjoy is. I’d also like to not have my ass pinched sans consent while standing in an audience (or ever).  But making shows into safe spaces for women is a (related) topic for another day.

I don’t think that the way to increase presence and representation of women is to prop up shitty bands, or insult boy bands just for being all-boy bands. But calling attention to the outmoded, overwhelming maleness (and whiteness) of festivals like CMJ, All Tomorrow’s Parties, and Bonnaroo is important.  We can all use a Whitey/Sausage Fest Check every so often.  There are tons of great women-led bands out there.  But we need to hear more of them- and we could always stand to have more bands waiting in the wings, practicing in bedrooms and garages.

So take up the mantle of the Guerilla Girls, and demand to hear more rocking bands that include women at your local music venues and any festivals you attend.

And while you’re at it, attend a LadiesRock Camp and get grooving yourself!

I wanna be in yr band.

***

Where do you notice underrepresentation of women-identified dudes and dudettes in music & art?

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