Last year, when the Fruntman and I were trying to get press passes to the Amnesia Rockfest, we were browsing through the band lineup, and the thing that really struck me was the almost total lack of women. Joan Jett and the Blackhearts being the most exception. But for the most part, the bands were white and male.
A few days ago, the blog Crack in the Road tweeted these two different versions of the lineup poster for Reading and Leeds:
The version on the right is the full lineup, the version on the left is one with bands that have women in them. Kinda sad, isn’t it?
And since the Amensia Rockfest has a good portion of their 2015 lineup posted, I did a quick survey: out of 94 bands, it looks like 6 of them have a woman in their ranks. That’s about 6% of the bands.
Considering that women make up about 50% of the world’s population, these numbers seem a little skewed. Ask yourself why.
Music is a sexist, male-dominated industry, and if you think otherwise, you need to open your eyes. From a very early age, girls are discouraged from perusing a career in rock ‘n’ roll. They’re told they can’t rock, they can’t drum, and they certainly can’t shred. When they go to shows, they’re told to stay out of the pit (because girls are fragile and can get hurt), they’re told they’re not the “right” kind of fan (fake music fangirl), they’re physically and sexually harassed all the time.
And if you say, well, if you can’t handle what the industry throws at you, you don’t belong in the industry, I want to point out that men don’t get treated like this by the industry. They don’t. And that’s the problem.
Just look at all the responses the Reading and Leeds tweet got – men complaining about “social justice warriors” trying to force music festivals to book girl bands just because they’re girls, men complaining about how women are bad at rock/punk/[insert genre here]…
— Ryan Day (@RyanJDay) February 24, 2015
This attitude is not new. I’ve seen it in tech industries (women can’t program computers because they’re not good at math), I’ve seen it in comic book stories and gaming stores (fake geek girls). It’s endemic in our society, and noting is going to change until people start questioning that status quo.