Cecilia Della Peruti (Gothic Tropic): If you’re in a band and you happen to be a girl, you’re often going to hear the phrase “girl band”, and there seems to be an obvious sense that “girl band” is a marginalized gender-based idea. Compliments might also be accompanied by the shocking revelation that women can actually play their instruments! The world wants to define you, and to be fair, allowing the public to describe you is integral. Accurately describing a band’s sound is an underrated talent, so I’ve just tried to brush them off as an earnest attempt. But a part of me wants to ask, “why was my gender a point of focus?” This caricature of the “femme-fronted bad ass chick” makes it easy for uninterested people to digest your work in this age of rapid consumption. The obsession with packaging is also what inspires the idea that bands that have “girl” or “vagina” in the name have negative meanings. The only reason people feel a need to bundle and brand female musicians by gender, is because the collective mental default setting for “band” is male. The language is proof that gender double standards exist. “What’s it like to be a guy in a band?” I think not.
Honoring the artist means giving uninterrupted freedom to create. Artists don’t need permission, there’s no assembly line of approval an idea needs to pass through to get to the other side. Artists are the gift givers, and they’re often everyone’s source of joy.
“I have been called an angry lesbian,
a diva and a psycho bitch.
I’ve been told to go stick a bomb
up my cunt and explode.”
— Kate Nash
Melissa Brooks (The Aquadolls):
My gender does not define the art I make.
My breasts do not make me different.
My art is me, not he or she. It’s my representation of personal freedom.
Ali Koehler (Upset, Vivian Girls): THE FACT I EVEN STILL BOTHER DOING THIS IS AN ACT OF RESISTANCE. I REFUSE TO LET SOME TOXIC IDEAS KEEP ME FROM DOING SOMETHING THAT ULTIMATELY BRINGS ME JOY, AND I THINK THIS IS A BATTLE THAT SO MANY YOUNG WOMEN ARE FIGHTING. IF YOU’RE LISTENING, KNOW THIS: YOUR FREEDOM TO CREATE IS WORTH FIGHTING FOR. YOUR BODY IS YOUR ALLY, NOT YOUR ENEMY. BE FIERCELY AND RELENTLESSLY LOVING.
“YOUR FREEDOM TO CREATE IS WORTH FIGHTING FOR.
YOUR BODY IS YOUR ALLY, NOT YOUR ENEMY.
BE FIERCELY AND RELENTLESSLY LOVING.”
— Ali Koehler
Julien Baker: The fact that gender discrimination still exists in music demands that it be addressed, yet media’s focus on the novelty of female experience in music perpetuates a stereotype of female musicians. Press that praises women who participate in a male-dominated field as something revolutionary because of its unusualness admits the reality of the issue, but also risks tokenizing female musicians and preventing women’s presence in music from being normalized…. Normalizing female presence in music begins when we stop feeling compelled to legitimize art made by women for any other reason than that it is art.