So, gender equality in music, especially the rock scene, isn’t something new to me. I’ve touched on it before here at DOOM! And yet, I keep repeating it. Because stuff keeps happening that reminds me that it needs to be repeated.
Like, for example, this:
Right, so. There’s a lot wrong with this statement. And before you harp on me about “it’s just one website, and a make-up company at that!” lemme tell you: there is a popular idea that women have three roles in music: fan, muse or groupie.
Hey, we’re all fans of things. And some of those things are bands. There is nothing wrong with being a fan of a band. There IS something wrong with women generally being regarded as the ones who must consume music, made for them by men, rather than making it. Or if they DO make it, it is girly music for girls and boys shouldn’t listen to it.
Being a muse is…well, you’re either the object of the lead singer’s affection, or the bitch who done him wrong. Either way, you’re an extreme, angel or devil. You’re not REAL. You’re an ideal. Congratulations, you’re no longer human.
And groupies. Look, if you wanna sleep with rock stars, that’s your call. But just because you have sex with a rock star doesn’t make you a “groupie,” and being a groupie isn’t necessarily a negative thing. It’s your sex life, I ain’t gonna tell you what to do with it other than saying SAFE SEX IS AWESOME, OKAY?
But look, the real point is that there is so much more out there for women in the music industry. Producers, tour managers, photographers, reporters, booking agents, studio musicians, you name it. But we don’t think about women doing that (unless they are the reporters who are expected to ask inane questions or who get trashed by a band’s fanbase because they had the audacity to get an exclusive interview). Not to mention the ever-growing number of women writing and performing music.
And yet, places like Urban Decay are quick to regress them to “groupies.” Sites like Buzznet.com, a site formerly a major voice in alternative culture, have run (now thankfully deleted) features titled “The Groupie Chronicles” by That Hipster Leslie Arfin. Or bands like All Time Low relegating their female fans to one of two headings: “fangirls” or “band sluts.”
Marisa Meltzer, author of Girl Power: The Nineties Revolution in Music, said in an interview with DOOM! in 2010 “Girls need to know that they don’t have to accept that, that their role in music doesn’t have to be as groupie, fan, or muse.” And these words are still true, they’ve been true for a long time and will continue to be true until we do something about it.
And we can start with this, maybe?