Wednesday, February 25, 2015

No Girls Allowed?

Here are two pictures:

The picture on the left shows the current line-up for Reading & Leeds 2015. The picture on the right is what that same line-up would look like if you got rid of every all-male act.

The latter image raised a lot of eyebrows when @crackintheroad posted it on Twitter last night. The notion that the music industry is heavily biased towards male performers is hardly novel, but it's a truth that's easy to forget when you're a white male who doesn't have to worry about this sort of thing.

(Mind you, it seems that Reading and Leeds are even worse than the industry at large when it comes to gender equality - according to this blog post from Justdip, events like T in the Park and The Isle of Wight Festival manage to fill roughly 25% of their programme with female-inclusive acts, which is significantly better than R&L's paltry 10%.)

At any rate, I saw the amended poster this morning and it awoke in me a recurring worry: why aren't there more women in my CD collection? I own hundreds and hundreds of albums, and I'm pretty certain that the vast majority were made by white men. Is this my fault? Or is my appallingly un-diverse library simply the result of an industry that values the songs of men more than it values the songs of women?

This is a blame game under which I've been trying to draw a line for years. On the one hand, I buy the music I want to buy, regardless of whether its creator was male, female, black, white, gay, straight, whatever. If it just so happens that I mainly buy albums that were written and recorded by white dudes, that's not my fault - why should I spend my limited budget on albums made by women if I think I'll enjoy the white dude music more?

On the other hand, I know that white dude albums will generally get a bigger slice of my attention than lady albums because that's how the industry works. Knowing this, perhaps it's my responsibility to seek out and support outstanding female artists, to do my part to tip the scales back in the other direction?

When you consider that I have my own music blog (albeit with a relatively small readership), this question becomes even more important. Male acts like Megadeth and Belle & Sebastian and Barry Manilow (I've been having a weird month) don't need my support, and God knows I could do far more good if I dedicated these blog posts to gushing about underheard female talent.

I haven't really come to a clear conclusion about all of this, but I guess the best thing I can do right now is to open my eyes and ears to music made by up-and-coming female artists, rather than dedicating all of my attention to the same clutch of manbands that I've been listening to for years. I suggest that you do the same - go out and discover some talented women today. There are bound to be loads that you've never even heard of.

1 comment:

  1. I've always thought as long as you're open minded and fair in what you choose to listen to, what you like it entirely up to you. As long as you're not going out of your way to ignore female bands then it's really up to you!