That’s right! If only more women would “pick up guitars” instead of buying handbags and watching nail varnish dry. Only then would we have a chance at gender equality on festival stages. This lack of female musicians and songwriters has been witnessed by….. absolutely no one who’s ever been to a gig, met a musician or been a woman – and yet “females” are clearly responsible for the lack of opportunities opening up for them in the industry.
Another thing to consider, is that potentially there may be other ways of making music than “picking up a guitar.” Women have been known to pick up other things and throw them at men who said something so patronising.
And BBC – once again, you simply perpetuate the problem by giving over the majority of this article to the male voice in a position of power.
This is a genuine quote: “It’s not just about booking more female acts because if there are less of them then there are less of them to go round all the festivals.”
I’m pretty sure you don’t need to worry about this. They will find a way.
Besides, there aren’t fewer of them, you’re just not looking, or maybe you’re not listening.
One of the features of patriarchy is that it limits opportunities for women, and therefore pits them against each other. If we were valued alongside men for our minds and our music, rather than our looks and our youth, we could build more community amongst ourselves without fear of scarcity.
And if there are fewer women at the top of the music industry, rather than telling them to try harder you might you want to ask the question: “Why are women under-represented in music? Could it be that the female voice is under-represented and under-valued in every walk of life? could it be that the female perspective is not taken as seriously as the male perspective as a given in a patriarchal society? Could it be that women are actually out there busting a gut making music, giving their whole lives over to this pursuit, only to be told by some guy running a festival that they ought to try “picking up a guitar” or “playing in a band”?”
What is needed is more nurturing and support of female talent at a grassroots level. It is galling to see stages saturated with beardy white men wielding guitars, and then to be told that women need to “step up” as if it’s our own laziness rather than the boys club that’s holding us back.
Men need to wake up and take responsibility for levelling the playing field. If you’re on a bill and there aren’t any women artists, question that. Challenge it. Use your male privilege for good. And if you’re putting on a night of your own don’t just get your male friends to support you. If you are a promoter or run a record label – consider what narratives your artists are perpetuating. Do you want to see something different?
As author and poet JJ Bola says, “I do think it’s important for men to realise that feminism is the only ideology that cares about you; capitalism doesn’t care about you, neo-liberalism doesn’t care about you, not even patriarchy cares about you. The only ideology that wants you to live a fuller life is feminism.”
We’d love there to be more females in parliament too. But there just aren’t, it’s a total mystery. Nothing to do with systematic objectification, oppression and marginalisation of women for millennia…