Why is the world of rock, in the year 2011, still dominated by men? In the nineties, female musicians were headed in the right direction. There was the whole riot grrrl movement with Bikini Kill, Babes in Toyland, L7, and others like Sleater-Kinney and Hole. And these ladies did do tremendous things for the role of women in rock. Joan Jett observed, “I read a piece on L7 the other day, and it didn’t mention they were all women until the last sentence. With the Runaways, it would have been the first.” The nineties have marked great improvement but still today it seems females dominate the role of popstar and diva, so where are all the rock and rollers?
I’m in a band. It’s a three piece, but the most identifiable thing about the band is that it’s all girls. Today if a band is comprised of girls it acquires the label of “girl band,” yet bands made up of all guys aren’t labeled “guy bands.” They’re identified by the name or style. Why is that? Kathleen Hanna of Bikini Kill made the excellent point. She said, “I hate the attitude of, ‘oh we already have a Lydia Lunch, so we don’t need a Bikini Kill.’ Well, there’s like two hundred million all-male bands all writing ‘baby baby I love you let me drag you around on my ankle.’ Is that enough already?”
So here are 5 steps that all female musicians must start obeying to bring us the equality we deserve.
- Don’t be sexist. Don’t try to say that men aren’t good musicians or have nothing of value to offer in the world of music. We’re fighting to make men and women equal in rock. Nothing is solved by sexism. Let’s work with men, not against them.
- Don’t be afraid to show the knowledge of your instrument. Personally, I often feel threatened when guys ask me what kind of guitar or bass I play. This makes no sense but guys get so technical about their gear. However, I know what kind of guitar I play, so why does this question always make me choke up? It’s the accusing way in which they ask the question. Be confident. Guys often think that girls know nothing about instruments and equipment and it’s time to prove them wrong.
- If you play covers, cover songs that wouldn’t be an obvious choice for your band to cover. For example, cover a song that is directed to a girl but keep it directed to a girl. If you’re into girls, you shouldn’t have to sing about boys when you could care less about getting with them. This could be something like “Foxy Lady” or “I Wanna Be Your Dog.”
- Jam with guys, play shows with guys. Don’t be intimidated. There’s no reason why you can’t keep up with men.
- Stop referring to your band (if you’re in an all female band) as a girl band. NEVER SAY THOSE WORDS AGAIN! Just simply refer to your band as… a band!
If female musicians make a conscious effort to follow these steps, we may just start a revolution. But the most important thing to keep in mind is that this battle is for equality. Women deserve to be treated as equals and men should no longer be the dominating force in the world of rock music. There have been so many talented female musicians throughout the years that have proven time and time again we are just as qualified to be rock stars as any man. Don’t let anyone make you feel any differently.