So, like many of you, I've been keeping up on the bands that are being announced for the 2011 Vans Warped Tour. And I was kind of alarmed at a trend I saw. Granted, I shouldn't have been alarmed, or shocked even, because it's something that you commonly see in any big festival.
There's pretty much NO girls involved.
So far on Warped I believe we've got ONE girl-fronted band, New Years Day. The rest is a boys club.
Ashley Costello of New Years Day, photo by John Kloepper
Granted, it's not like Warped is generally a girl-band love-fest. While last year had Hey Monday, VersaEmerge, The Pretty Reckless and Iwrestledabearonce, among a few others, none of these bands was on the main stage. And, really, when you compared the number of band with girls in them to the rest of the line-up, it's not an impressive percentage.
Which, okay, no, gender shouldn't matter in music, but that's kind of my point. In a lot of cases, you run into sexism in the scene. There's that old favorite "Wow, she's pretty good FOR A GIRL!" (I have never heard anyone claim a male band member was "pretty good for a guy") as well as "I don't know if she's talented, but she's hot!" (when girls say something like this, we're "being shallow" or we "don't respect the music"). If gender doesn't matter, then there shouldn't be a double standard of skill or appearance for girls in bands, and it really seems like if gender didn't matter AT ALL in the scene, with the number of girls who are a part of it, there would be an equal number of female bands, right?
Tatiana DeMaria of TAT, photo by New Age Amazon/Ashly Nagrant
It's kind of a universal thing, though. Major tours and festivals such as Bamboozle, Mayhem Fest, Take Action Tour and the AP tour are predominantly male. In fact, it seems like the only time you see a tour with a majority of girls on it, it's basically MARKETED as a "girly tour," IE: girly music made by girls for girls and maybe gay guys like it but not MANLY MEN OF MANHOOD. Sometimes it's something like Lillith Faire, which was created to give female artists a voice, and sometimes it just kind of smacks of tokenism: "Okay, we'll give you girls THIS TOUR so you can't say the music industry is sexist!"
I've thought about what could be the cause, and you know, honestly, I've come down to the idea that it's a vicious cycle. Girls have been discouraged from starting rock bands in the past (if you've seen The Runaways, you'll recall the scene where Joan Jett is sitting with her guitar instructor who tells her, firmly, "Girls don't PLAY electric guitar,") which leads to few to no girls being seen on stage in rock bands which can lead to girls being discouraged from starting rock bands which leads to few to no girls being see on stage which...
...you get the idea.
Taylor Momsen of The Pretty Reckless, photo by New Age Amazon/Ashly Nagrant
Well, I don't know that this cycle can be broken. But I do know that something has to be done about it and for ONCE I wanna be proactive rather than just ranting or bitching. Which leads me to the point of this post:
GIRLS OF BUZZNET, I WANNA KNOW ABOUT YOUR BANDS
Do you have a band? Do you have a girl friend who's in a band? Is there a girl band in your local scene that you think needs more exposure? I WANNA KNOW ABOUT THEM! Drop a link to their Myspace/Facebook/Bandcamp/YouTube/WHATEVER and tell us a little about them. It doesn't matter how good you/they are or how experienced, I WANNA SEE/HEAR GIRLS MAKING MUSIC!
I don't know if I'll just end up publishing this as "the big list of Buzznet Girl Bands" or if I'll try to feature one or two a week or WHAT, but I figure the place to start is to get you guys to tell me what you're doing and who you're listening to. SO COME ON, GIRLS, LADIES AND GRRRLS OF BUZZNET: PUT THE MUSIC WHERE MY MOUTH IS!