Jeph Jacques's comics discussion forums

Fun Stuff => BAND => Topic started by: Allybee on 27 Feb 2011, 07:35

Title: women and music
Post by: Allybee on 27 Feb 2011, 07:35
a group of my friends just started a band. they are the only band on campus with more than one girl (they are usually all girls, although one boy has taken over for the regular bassist who is abroad).

I think they're pretty good (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2BBoqjtm4EE). they are, in my biased opinion, a lot of talented musicians who haven't had a chance to play in a band before but are taking it really seriously.

my school has an awful anonymous gossip board and they are just being trashed for not being able to play their instruments.

Quote from: Anonymous Guy '12
these idiots looked so stupid not knowing how to play simple chords

I've never seen a band get trashed like this for "not being able to play." ever. sometimes bands get trashed for their attitude or the music that they choose to play, but never for the ability of the musicians. and we have some terrible bands at this school. am I crazy for thinking that it's because they are women? and being pissed off? too much kathleen hanna? do you guys think that men are more critical of women playing music than they would be of other men? I can't figure out why the guy who wrote that comment would specifically identify himself as male (you have the option to identify yourself as a gender or to leave it blank).

also worth reading, the bassist that is abroad wrote an editorial about this (http://wesleyanargus.com/2010/12/03/music-men-and-wesleyan%E2%80%99s-quiet-bias/) last semester before the band started playing together.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: NotAFanOfFenders on 27 Feb 2011, 08:08

Quote from: Anonymous Guy '12
these idiots looked so stupid not knowing how to play simple chords

Well, neither could the Ramones, and people seem to like them...

What's the current "trends" like at your campus?
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: Allybee on 27 Feb 2011, 08:23
trends have nothing to do with it, because the music that they're playing hasn't been picked apart, just their ability to play it. my anger has to do with the fact that they CAN play their instruments and this criticism is totally unwarranted.

Quote from: the article I linked
It’s no secret that men dominate the music scene at Wesleyan, but Kathleen confirmed what a lot of us suspected: music is, generally, a boys club, which tends to marginalize girl bands and musicians as novelties.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: Elysiana on 27 Feb 2011, 08:48
From just that song you linked, all I can hear is the drums and bass. Were there other instruments?? I mean, the drummer was fine but there wasn't much to the drumline, and the bassist was fine but the bassline was repetitive (but you said that was a guy anyway).

I think I heard a violin at one point, and it was a bit off-key.

To be honest, it sounded like a group of girls doing karaoke. <edit> That's probably due to the production value for the most part - it's not in a studio so it's really hard to hear what's going on. </edit>
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: ALoveSupreme on 27 Feb 2011, 09:03
It has to be pretty anecdotal from band to band.  When I lived in DeKalb, there was a group of three girls called The Patience that were pretty young and played better music than most of the bands in that town (a college town and these were three juniors/seniors in high school).
They may have been regarded as novelty because they were young, or all female, or perhaps both, but they were well respected in the community as musicians. 

Honestly, though, it sounds pretty unique to me that you are on a campus where people never trash a band's musicianship... I've never really heard of anything like that.    I mean, I'm not usually in situations where people "mock" a band's ability, but if a band can't play they're pretty much dismissed or put in the "maybe they will be better when the get older" or whatever category. 

here's the music of that band from DeKalb, by the way:
http://www.myspace.com/thepatiencemusic
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: Cernunnos on 27 Feb 2011, 09:10
I am really glad you brought brought this up! this comes up a lot in visual art (which is what i do). In the classes I've been taking of late it's been a significant part of the discussion, because the gallery art world is still, unfortunately, a boys club in a lot of ways (Consider the necessity of the work of these ladies back in the 80's (http://www.guerrillagirls.com/)). I had started to think about how this problem related to other disciplines because quite frankly It seems like Music, particularly rock music, is most definitely a boy's club. Granted, there have been some standout figures like Patti Smith and Yoko Ono but It still, like so many other fields seems to have horrible built-in prejudices.

Speaking of which, Required reading: Why Have there Been No Great Woman Artists? (http://ladyfest-ro.pimienta.org/05/cd/pdf/whynogreatwomenartists.pdf)

This was written in 1971 and refers to visual art primarily, but the issues it brings up apply: the structural problems of attempting to be a woman in a creative field and the dismissive, condescending attitude that encourages art so long as it is merely a distracting hobby.

As for this particular band, they sound fine to me, from what I could hear. It's hard to tell what's what when it comes to music because, to be quite frank, rock music is deeply mired in petty snobbery, meanness and "authenticity".
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: Dimmukane on 27 Feb 2011, 09:56
They sound pretty genuine to me.  Is this gossip board something everyone on campus uses frequently? If not, it's likely that the guys trashing the band are just lonely dorks who wish they had the confidence to start a band and are pissed they got beat to it by girls.  He actually sounds kinda like me, circa 5 years ago, listening to nothing but death metal and looking down on any kind of music that didn't sound as complicated.  Your friends are out there doing it, and that asshole isn't, and in any case mastery of the instrument isn't a requirement for making great music. 

If the gossip board is something that a lot of students view, then tell your friends to ignore it, because there are a lot of other people out there who'd dig something like this and aren't constrained by something as petty as gender bias.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: Algernon on 27 Feb 2011, 10:22
So I listened to the vid you posted and the sound quality on the video isn't the best, but the band sounds decent enough to me.

I saw in the vid info that your school is Wesleyan.  Which, granted, I probably don't know as much about as you do.  But I just got accepted ED as an incoming freshman next year, so I know at least a bit.  And I'm thinking the anonymous board is the ACB?

Basically, my point: from what I hear (and the little that I've seen), the ACB (or whatever anonymous board this is) is stupid, and the same goes for the overwhelming majority of the discussions that take place there.  Everyone is kind of a dick on the internet, and that inherent dickishness is multiplied by a very large number on an anonymous board, where one doesn't even have to pretend to be held accountable for one's actions.

It's possible that this specific act of dickery was motivated by sexism, but honestly, why does it matter?  It's dickish and petty regardless, and not worth paying attention to.  And, IMO, this instance probably has less to do with larger cultural mores and sexism in art and more to do with the the occasionally entertaining but wholly despicable nature of the seedy underbelly of the internet.  And there didn't to be a single mention of the fact that the band is largely comprised of women.

EDIT: Also, I just checked out the ACB and indeed found the thread in question ("WAS LONG BROWN HAIR GUDDDD?"), which could probably use a few more Ds in its name (maybe bring things up to an even 10).  Anyway, the responses overall weren't terribly negative.  There were a few positive posts and a few lukewarm/meh, but only a couple that I would classify as truly "trashing" the band.  Which is only to be expected, really.

ANOTHER EDIT: That said, I do think there is an unfortunate tendency to view all-girl (or mostly-girl) bands as a novelty, and the fact that they are all-girl can be more talked about than their music itself.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: Be My Head on 27 Feb 2011, 10:53
I could only hear the bass guitar and the drums, and neither really impressed me. I'd have to hear a better recording to judge whether the comment was justified or not.

I disagree with the idea that women musicians have to be "hypergood" (whatever that means). They just have to be good, the same as any other musician. But maybe I'm not sexist like other people. I dunno. I know not everyone can be as good as Kaki King.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: Allybee on 27 Feb 2011, 11:43
really disagree. I have a lot more to say but it's midterms and I need to not block the internet.

algernon, wes is great, the acb sucks, send me a message and we'll talk
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: KvP on 27 Feb 2011, 12:27
I disagree with the idea that women musicians have to be "hypergood" (whatever that means). They just have to be good, the same as any other musician. But maybe I'm not sexist like other people. I dunno. I know not everyone can be as good as Kaki King.
Man what was up with Riot Grrrl huh

What put a bug up their asses I wonder
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: Allybee on 27 Feb 2011, 12:29
^ that
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: sean on 27 Feb 2011, 17:19
not gonna lie i dont like that band but that doesn't mean they are bad it means i dont like them. but it totally sounds like they can play their instruments. so fuck the haters.

also its scientific fact that girls get +5 cute points when they can play music, so really fuck the haters.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: David_Dovey on 27 Feb 2011, 18:27
I too think it's cute when girls play music.

Look at them, trying to do men's things! So cute!

It's like a dog walking on two legs!
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: sean on 27 Feb 2011, 18:40
way to make me sound sexist >:c
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: JimmyJazz on 27 Feb 2011, 21:42
Girl musicians are awesome! Unfortunately, I know many people with an unfairly harsh attitude to female artists and who usually pass it off as a gimmick or who're only interested in their looks. I feel fucking awful that I can't talk about female musicians around some of my friends and that my protests to their prejudices are often met with jest. Yet I try and do what I can by scolding these people and promoting local girls making music as art just as equal to, if not greater than most music being put out by male acts these days.

Title: Re: women and music
Post by: KvP on 27 Feb 2011, 22:05
There's a lot of... I can't remember the name of it presently, I think it may be "tracking", but it's a term referring to the phenomenon of pushing people into areas of activity people are generally comfortable with (ex. men and women go into medicine, women become nurses and men become doctors, etc.) There's a fair bit of that in musical performance. Women play non-rock instruments usually as a supplement to a band - violin, cello, piano, synths, tambourine. Delicate instruments, pretty instruments, Not Serious instruments. Recently girl-group harmonizing is back in style so you'll see female vocalists playing the lead in that style. Back-up singing for a dude is fine too. As long as they stay within those strictures, you'll likely hear fewer complaints about their ability (though you'll probably hear about how the music itself is faggy). Within the traditional rock band, the cliche is the hot girl bassist, and I don't know where that started (Smashing Pumpkins?), but outside of that role it seems like women in rock are viewed as outliers notable for the fact that they are women playing rock music. That's not even touching pop music, which is widely hated even before gender gets into it.

I remember people really hating The Donnas when in terms of quality or authenticity they were at least on par with most other Garage Revivalist bands. Riot Grrl kind of folded in on itself from the pressure. Has there been a widely notable rock (mainstream or indie) woman who was not a sex symbol? Lita Ford, Joan Jett, Kathleen Hanna (people did and do fawn over her), Zooey Deschanel. I'd say Jarboe, but I think she sought to intentionally alienate people. Kim Deal?  Kim Gordon? Other Kims?
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: KharBevNor on 28 Feb 2011, 00:01
I was thinking when I read this thread last night that compared to some areas/genres post-industrial music is fairly well integrated, (though still the majority of people are men); lots of fairly even mixed-gender bands, female artists and various rotating female musicians. I wonder if that's got anything to do with the fact almost no one plays 'traditional rock instruments'? Actually, traditional folk music is even more mixed-gender, at least in the UK, and has been almost since the beginning of the folk revival, and definitely since the seventies. Maybe a component of the 'problem' (though in this aspect it's rather difficult to look at it as a problem) is that many women who engage in music engage in less commercially viable or widely visible subgenres.

The 'girls instruments' and 'mens instruments' thing does become rather tricky outside of rock music, as does the 'girls are only allowed to do acoustic' thing. We have to be careful not to end up in the absurdity of arguing that women are being marginalised or oppressed if they choose to play instruments or produce music that is of genuine interest to them and they genuinely enjoy playing. Rock is not the only fruit after all.

This brings up an interesting question. I know plenty of ladies who are in to rock music/heavy metal/death metal etc., but I would say, generally, that there is more of a tendency for the fans of these genres to be male (thought not to the same degree that men are over-represented in bands, I would say). Now we can ask to what degree either:

a) Women are less interested in these things because of the lack of female voices (notes?)
b) Women are less interested in these things because they are inherently masculine in some way
c) Women are less interested in these things because society projects the image that they are inherently masculine in some way
d) Women are less interested in these things because they feel unwelcome or are actively excluded
e) Some or all of the above

It's particularly interesting to consider what kind of relationship gender composition of fanship has to gender composition of bands, and to ask if things are getting any better? Using the example of the thing I know best, I would say things are slowly getting better, but far too slowly (as with anything). Thirty years ago women participating in heavy metal bands as anything except maybe backing vocalists would have been pretty inconcievable. Twenty years ago it was highly unusual. Ten years ago it was remarkable. It continues to become less so; for example, I have noticed in passing that in none of the press I have seen for The Lamp of Thoth (one of my favourite bands of the now) has it been even noted that they have a femalde drummer, where once upon a (very recent) time it would probably have been treated as a novelty. I remember seeing people bring up the fact that OMG Bolt Thrower have a female bassist! all the time.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: Nodaisho on 28 Feb 2011, 00:09
I didn't really like The Donnas because it felt like they were basically sold on the premise of it being an all-girl band. And I'm supposed to find it sexy just for that and buy lots of records.

What about Liz Buckingham? I don't think she generally gets sexualized (although in a good portion of the pictures I've seen, she looks just as much in need of a shower as the other members of the band, not sure if that is cause or effect). I'm also curious, is anyone here either old enough to remember or know their history well enough to know how Heart was thought of way back when? I know there was that thing with their publicist saying that the sisters were lovers, but aside from that I have no idea.

edit: Oh, what about Thorr's Hammer? I was something like 4 when that album came out, so I have no idea how much  the "female growler" thing was played up then. I think the EP was pretty solid for a basement-recorded doom album (doom really needs a more full low-end than that), but the band seems to have a lot more following than I would expect just on that merit.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: leftandleaving on 28 Feb 2011, 00:23
Marnie Stern (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l3oxU9-zeiA&feature=related)
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: squawk on 28 Feb 2011, 02:09
I'm going to fuck up so much shit when I'm in this stupid industry
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: KharBevNor on 28 Feb 2011, 02:18
Liz Buckingham is interesting because she's one of the very few examples I can think of off the top of my head of a lone female in a band who is a guitarist, although even then she's rhythm. Can anyone think of any band which has predominantly male members but the lead guitarist is female? The closest I can think of is The Great Kat (I believe her backing band is normally two dudes). Then again, if we're talking about sexualisation, she has that whole dominatrix schtick going on.

Here's a question: what's the line between being sexualised and being in a band that sings about sex. Kinky sex is a pretty standard topic in some genres.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: KvP on 28 Feb 2011, 02:51
Boris!
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: Coward on 28 Feb 2011, 03:52
Hanson are probably my favourite all-girl-band.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: ruyi on 28 Feb 2011, 04:33
I'm going to fuck up so much shit when I'm in this stupid industry
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: ruyi on 28 Feb 2011, 04:57
There's a lot of... I can't remember the name of it presently, I think it may be "tracking", but it's a term referring to the phenomenon of pushing people into areas of activity people are generally comfortable with (ex. men and women go into medicine, women become nurses and men become doctors, etc.) There's a fair bit of that in musical performance. Women play non-rock instruments usually as a supplement to a band - violin, cello, piano, synths, tambourine. Delicate instruments, pretty instruments, Not Serious instruments. Recently girl-group harmonizing is back in style so you'll see female vocalists playing the lead in that style. Back-up singing for a dude is fine too. As long as they stay within those strictures, you'll likely hear fewer complaints about their ability (though you'll probably hear about how the music itself is faggy). Within the traditional rock band, the cliche is the hot girl bassist, and I don't know where that started (Smashing Pumpkins?), but outside of that role it seems like women in rock are viewed as outliers notable for the fact that they are women playing rock music. That's not even touching pop music, which is widely hated even before gender gets into it.

This sounds similar to how, in the Western classical tradition, the position of the composer (i.e. the real author or creator of music) was stereotypically male, while it was only the position of performer (i.e. the vessel who had to be obedient to the composer) that allowed for females, so maybe that has some bearing on the roles men and women have in contemporary genres. The stuff that you've listed for girls, for instance, might be seen as decorative, as opposed to the stuff that you've noted for guys, which might be considered structural. Actually, I'm not sure if I really believe that this is the division that's operating here, since I think even my characterization of the relationship between composer and performer oversimplifies things a bit much, but it might be a useful starting point for thinking about this.

Here's a question: what's the line between being sexualised and being in a band that sings about sex. Kinky sex is a pretty standard topic in some genres.

Do you mean with the former, some other party sexualizes musicians--a record label, to sell records or whatever--and with the latter, the musician is engaging in a sexual register, but it's more their choice, and less about profit? I dunno. I feel like it's tricky to talk about agency, and then reception is pretty important too. We'd probably have to start linking to specific examples to get at the "line between."
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: pwhodges on 28 Feb 2011, 05:41
I was about to comment on classical music.  Women have been well accepted as performers for some time, as soloists as well as orchestral or ensemble musician.  As composers, none has reached the highest levels, but there are plenty in contemporary music who are at or near that level (though isolated examples exist throughout history, such as Hildegard of Bingen and Fanny Mendelssohn).  Conducting has perhaps been the most male-dominated area, but there are now a few women knocking at the door of the top levels.

Given the shameful continuing persistence of the glass ceiling in business and politics, I think that female musicians are doing at least as well as their sisters in other professions.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: David_Dovey on 28 Feb 2011, 09:20
way to make me sound sexist >:c

I didn't have to try too hard. Maybe try not framing yr support of female musicians in terms of how attractive you find them in future?


Kim Gordon is an interesting case, namely because there was a period in Sonic Youth's history where she did very consciously make a shift from being just another band member to dressing up and playing ingenue, and this has certainly been read as a cynical move on the part of the band in an effort to draw more attention to themselves.

Ditto Kira Roessler, who started out looking more or less like "one of the boys"/jeans+t-shirt early in her stint with Black Flag but later (reportedly at the behest of the rest of the band) started playing in some pretty outlandish Madonna-esque get-up.

Of course it's much easier to believe Gordon had a more active role in the decision to change her on-stage presentation than Roessler.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: tommydski on 28 Feb 2011, 09:38
I didn't have to try too hard. Maybe try not framing yr support of female musicians in terms of how attractive you find them in future?

I initially misread what he said too but on re-reading he actually just said he finds women more attractive if they play music.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: valley_parade on 28 Feb 2011, 09:42
Boris!

Title: Re: women and music
Post by: sean on 28 Feb 2011, 09:44
yeah dovey that is all i meant, i am attracted to female musicians.

maybe i need to word my statements better but uh can you please stop misconstruing my statements/hating on me, i feel like you do that a lot.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: JimmyJazz on 28 Feb 2011, 09:49
Can anyone think of any band which has predominantly male members but the lead guitarist is female?

The Cramps! (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HrbTkNwbUz8)
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: Elysiana on 28 Feb 2011, 10:36
It's funny, but I see that slight change in topic to be really relevant (regarding "girl musicians = win"). If I'd said "Man, boys who play guitar are cuuuute," I doubt anyone would have noticed. Cute does not necessarily mean cutesy - nobody would have assumed I meant "like a puppy or maybe a baby, d'awwww." Either way, I didn't read anything into Sean's post other than "girl musicians are cool, rock on." I don't really see why there's anything wrong with that, and honestly the biting response to it seems a good example of reverse sexism.

Khar, regarding your multiple-choice from wayy back in the thread, what DO you think women are generally into (I don't mean this to be a leading question, I'm just trying to think of what genres girls tend to lean toward)? Most girls I know listen to "rock" music if you can call it that (well, whatever's on the radio, but that's what most men seem to listen to also) and a good bit of urban/R&B. I'll agree, though, that there are more males than females who tend to listen to metal, and possibly that's because metal does seem to have a bit more testosterone to it, so to speak. However, I know an extraordinarily large number of women who love female-fronted metal bands like Edenbridge and Within Temptation. I on the other hand prefer male vocals; I'm not anti-female-vocalist, I just don't tend to listen to them as much.

However, as you said, things have definitely changed over the years. Whereas ten years ago I'd be one of the very few females at a metal concert, it seems to be more evenly mixed now (though far from 50/50). As far as female musicians being a novelty, I don't really remember a lot of people going nuts over the fact that White Zombie had a female bassist, even after they became pretty mainstream. It was cool, but not shocking. So I don't know, maybe it's partly a difference in the people we interact with.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: KharBevNor on 28 Feb 2011, 11:13
Are you American? The European and American metal cultures are very different.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: McTaggart on 28 Feb 2011, 11:29
Most women I know like shit like Bruno Mars or Owl City but I'm pretty sure I know some awful women so v0v.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: ALoveSupreme on 28 Feb 2011, 11:37
My other problem with the argument of "guys who think women that play music are hot are inherently sexist" is: what about the other side of that coin?
Girls that think musicians are attractive usually have their actual appreciation minimized or completely dismissed.  If a girl thinks a guy musician is hot, she is seen as a lesser fan or someone who doesn't care about the music, just the image.
Does this viewpoint make sense?  Because I think it is something that is overlooked and one I never really thought of until Dovey gave Sean shit about being a sexist for thinking female musicians are attractive (I agree that this viewpoint is not inherently sexist).
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: Radical AC on 28 Feb 2011, 11:41
Maybe it has something to do with back in high school when guys would form bands to be cool and get laid.  I didn't know any girls that tried that approach, but oh man, all my friends.  Then some of these people graduate get older and decide, "Hey, maybe there is something to this music thing aside from sex appeal."  Presto!  An entire generation of male guitar players.

Never saw the issue as much of a thing myself.  The majority of my friends for the past ten years have, male or female, been musicians.  A disparity in the male:female ratio doesn't necessarily denote a disparity in equality for whatever reason.  I'm sure if we really felt like it we could rattle off hundreds of bands of all, or mixed females that haven't been sexualized.  Music is too universal to find much of an inequality that you wouldn't find in society at large.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: Scandanavian War Machine on 28 Feb 2011, 11:48
i've never met a person who started a band to get laid, they all genuinely loved music and could actually play it, so they did

then again, this is in Washington, and there seems to be something in the water here that makes people naturally rock or something. i dunno.



actually that's not true, i met some d-bags in arizona who played shitty jug jug metal music so they could get laid, but like i said, they were idiots playing shitty music in America's own little hellscape so i barely even count them as people, let alone legit people.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: Elysiana on 28 Feb 2011, 12:03
Khar - yep, American. I know there are some differences but I've never really gotten into an in-depth discussion about it. What would you say some of the main ones are (at least in relation to the topic... that could become its own thread otherwise)?

In general I think most of the metal I listen to is European-based, but of course most of the bands I've seen live have been American. I'm trying to think if I've noticed a difference in the makeup of the audiences for each. That would be interesting to learn.


ALoveSupreme, that's a valid point that I hadn't considered, and I think I agree with you but only in a limited sense. It really depends on the girl. I know too many girls who like a band because the members are attractive, or who want to be roadies because that sense of celebrity is intriguing, but otherwise they couldn't care less about the music; I also know a considerable number who know at least as much and often more about the music itself and music theory than some of the guys who listen to it, and if they said a certain musician was hot nobody would think less of them.

Conversely, my husband pokes fun at me for using a Devin Townsend wallpaper on my computer because really, the guy is butt-ass ugly but hey, he's an amazing musician so that's actually kinda hot. Same with Mikael Åkerfeldt of Opeth. Of course, he also knows I can run circles around him talking about the actual music. So I guess the question is, does it make me shallow that I think talent in and of itself is sexy and therefore consider an otherwise unattractive musician to suddenly be attractive?

On a related note, why is it that female musicians are expected to be beautiful? It's along the same lines of the disparity on television and in movies - there's often a matchup made between an unattractive male and an attractive female, but they'd never dream of setting it up the other way around. If a guy likes a female musician who is considered unattractive people give him shit about it - "How the hell could you like HER? She's ugly/fat/whatever." But if he likes an attractive female musician, even if she makes shitty music, nobody says a word, or at the worst they just say, "You have terrible taste in music, but yeah, I'd totally hit that."
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: Radical AC on 28 Feb 2011, 12:19
The attractive thing is still more of a social topic that could be taken almost completely independent of music itself.  It's no surprise that attractive people tend to do better in comparable circumstances than an unattractive person.  Looks are also a totally legit reason to be attracted or not to a person, with various social stigmas attached.  Likewise talent in itself could be used the same way.  What really makes something shallow is judging something or someone based on one facet of what they are.  Adversely, I don't really see anything wrong with lustful or shallow thoughts as long as it doesn't effect how you treat someone its harmless, and not bad in itself.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: Radical AC on 28 Feb 2011, 12:34
i've never met a person who started a band to get laid, they all genuinely loved music and could actually play it, so they did

Unless you are Fred Durst doing it specifically for the nookie, it's true you aren't going to find many people getting into music with that sole mission.  Though, I'll bet the discussion of those ramifications definitely comes up with most bands in that age group.  Or, you must be in an exceptional place where people don't write crappy acoustic or pop-punk love songs for girls, and there is no, "that guy," at the party.  If it is the latter I am far too cynical a person and need to get my ass out to Washington.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: Elysiana on 28 Feb 2011, 12:36
But I guess that's kind of what the question is - why is it seen as negative when someone has those thoughts, shallow or not, when really it kind of is a natural thing? People automatically make assumptions about it such as "You said girl musicians are cute, why are you so sexist" when really it should be more "You said girl musicians are cute, that's cool that you view talent as a turn-on."

I don't think someone's altruism should be called into question just because they think someone is attractive or not. If they follow a band only because they think someone in it is hot then I don't think they're really a competent judge on whether that band is any good, but I also don't think it makes them sexist. That's like saying that if you have a crush on someone who's attractive, you're shallow.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: KvP on 28 Feb 2011, 12:39
Given the shameful continuing persistence of the glass ceiling in business and politics, I think that female musicians are doing at least as well as their sisters in other professions.
I know that there have been studies that seem to show conclusively that if recitals are taped, with no indication of the gender of the performer, women do significantly better in competition.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: Radical AC on 28 Feb 2011, 12:42
It is hard to judge people on their actions or intentions in a text based internet discussion.  Saying a girl musician is cute in the sense that it adds or subtracts from the band is by definition sexist even if it is, or is meant to be, harmless.  Sexism even in that form tends to have a negative connotation to certain people.  So, I think it is partly semantics, and partly a difference in acceptable viewpoints.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: Elysiana on 28 Feb 2011, 13:05
Yeah, typing about a subject and waiting for replies often makes for misunderstandings, but I think we're doing well so far. Everyone's keeping a pretty level head.


Trying to follow here though. Are you essentially saying that people tend to see it as:
"That band is great" = acceptable
"That band is great and their lead singer is so hot" = possibly questionable
"That band is just okay but their lead singer is so hot, so I like them better than this other band that is arguably much better" = unacceptable

If so, I'm not sure sexism is really the right word for it. To me that implies that they think the band itself is better, which may or not be the case. It may be shallow, but I don't know that it's sexist. It would be more sexist to say "I think men are better musicians overall, and that lead singer is a male, so that band is better than this female-fronted band."
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: David_Dovey on 28 Feb 2011, 13:16
yeah dovey that is all i meant, i am attracted to female musicians.

maybe i need to word my statements better but uh can you please stop misconstruing my statements/hating on me, i feel like you do that a lot.

Out of my recent posts I can find two examples of what might possible be seen as "hating on you" and the one in this thread was at least half jokey and the other one was 100% jokey. Stop misconstruing me/sack the fuck up kthx. I would've made my first post about anyone, sean. It's not 'cos I have any special beef with you, except maybe you make dumb posts more often than other people, so I end up calling you out more (read: twice!).

As I said, my comments were at least half jokey, and I honestly don't feel bad about the half of it wasn't. In a regular conversation I wouldn't begrudge anyone an opinion like that and I'm not saying it's necessarily a bad thing to think that someone is attractive- for whatever reason- but I found it amusing how quickly "cuteness" came up in a thread specifically about differing standards between male and female musicians.

It's funny, but I see that slight change in topic to be really relevant (regarding "girl musicians = win"). If I'd said "Man, boys who play guitar are cuuuute," I doubt anyone would have noticed. Cute does not necessarily mean cutesy - nobody would have assumed I meant "like a puppy or maybe a baby, d'awwww." Either way, I didn't read anything into Sean's post other than "girl musicians are cool, rock on." I don't really see why there's anything wrong with that, and honestly the biting response to it seems a good example of reverse sexism.

This is a false equivalence for several reasons, a couple being that
i) Of course looks matter in regards to success in music, for both sexes. I'm not gonna retrench arguments that were already made perfectly clear in Radical AC's posts upthread, but I will suggest you go ahead and GIS the Top 40/100/200/whatever bands in the charts right now, and -more pointedly- your favourite bands (it's oretty safe to assume that the Top 40 crowd and you don't have many picks in common if you're posting here) and tell me how many legitimately unattractive people you see. Even in the obscure corners of music fandom, looks are still counting. "Attractiveness" might be a far more niche prospect in indie rock or hardcore or metal based on the proclivities of the typical listener of that subgenre but it doesn't visual concerns re: musicians any less apparent.

ii) Once again, this is something that's been stated perfectly well in other posts, but while men are certainly subject to a lot of the same judgments re: looks as women, it always seems a lot easier to separate that from other signifiers of value like talent or skill. When judging female musicians, it's all too often that judgments of attractiveness are intrinsically tied to the overall view, and is far more central to the audience perception of the performer.

Quote
don't really remember a lot of people going nuts over the fact that White Zombie had a female bassist, even after they became pretty mainstream.

Said bassist would have you believe otherwise (http://www.invisibleoranges.com/2011/01/interview-sean-yseult-white-zombie/)


N.B; This post was written mostly before the last two posts were made so it kind of talks past points made in those posts and doesn't really address the additional questions raised, sorry.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: Elysiana on 28 Feb 2011, 13:42
I'm not sure we're debating the same subject at this point, honestly. You seem to be saying that attractiveness counts in how popular a band is - and I am not disagreeing with that. I'm just saying that it's more shallow than sexist.

Regarding your second point, for some fucked-up reason lots of preteen girls apparently think Justin Bieber is hot and listen to him mostly because of that. Same thing happens with a lot of boy bands. Hell, I know women my age who go to concerts just because the singer is hot. It's not just men who make comments about female musicians, it goes both ways. Is it right? Not really, but it's going to happen.

My argument is mostly that it's sexist to say that I think male musicians are better than female musicians, but not sexist if I think this particular male musician is better than that one because he's better-looking. I realize it's pretty pedantic to argue semantics but I think the distinction is important in this case.

And no, you won't find any of my favorite bands on a Top 40 chart lol. In fact, now that I think about it... most of my favorite bands have pretty unattractive members O_o I don't quite know why it's more acceptable in one genre than another. Perhaps something to do with the style and subject matter. Someone who's singing about evil that never sleeps or writhing in embers doesn't have to look good while doing it I guess haha.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: Scandanavian War Machine on 28 Feb 2011, 13:44
interesting real-world example for this thread would be the All Girl Summer Fun Band. those girls made some great music and had legions of followers (maybe, i hope so) but most of those chicks were "homely" at best, and downright ugly at worst.

i still love them and think they're rad, as do many others, but it's an interesting example of what you guys are talking about.



....they probably definitely would have been more successful if they were prettier though so....you know....whatever...... :|

this thread is depressing and confusing
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: tommydski on 28 Feb 2011, 14:03
Even more confusing when you take into account the fact that I think a lot of people actually give women the benefit of the doubt over men or are a touch more sympathetic towards females in music. Certainly I am guilty of this positive discrimination and it remains to be seen if this causes it to even out somewhat. It's a different aspect of casual sexism which is probably more common than the more overt misogyny which is implied at the beginning of this thread. I have a lot to say on this issue but for the most part I try to stay out of the debate because all the women I know in music hate it being brought up. I guess I can kind of see how having a male over-zealously defend perceived double standards can be yet another form of patronisation. So it's basically a kaleidoscope of difficulty, which undoubtedly contributes to how often it is swept under the rug.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: David_Dovey on 28 Feb 2011, 14:05
I'm not sure we're debating the same subject at this point, honestly. You seem to be saying that attractiveness counts in how popular a band is - and I am not disagreeing with that. I'm just saying that it's more shallow than sexist.

As I said in the addendum to my last post, I hadn't read your contention of shallowness vs. sexism when I wrote it.

For what it's worth, I don't think I disagree with you that it's shallow, but I think it's both! Also that it's not necessarily maliciously sexist, which I get the feeling is what you think I'm implying, just indicative of a wider disparity between how women and men are judged for performing the same task, which in turn is indicative of ingrained sexism in society overall.

Quote
Regarding your second point, for some fucked-up reason lots of preteen girls apparently think Justin Bieber is hot and listen to him mostly because of that. Same thing happens with a lot of boy bands. Hell, I know women my age who go to concerts just because the singer is hot. It's not just men who make comments about female musicians, it goes both ways. Is it right? Not really, but it's going to happen.

Absolutely. I think my main problem with it is that people who have that opinion of male performers, i.e; liking a male's music principally based on how they look, that opinion is regularly dismissed as stupid or inconsequential whereas I think even in the upper echelons of musical criticism, tying a female's attractiveness to her worth as a performer (regardless of the type of music she is making, just by the way) is far more acceptable and not questioned. As I said, the way I see it, if a review of a male performer mentioned his attractiveness, it would generally be dismissed as frivolity and not really relevant to the content of the music whereas the way a female performer looks can determine her identity and the way she is perceived. Once again, this isn't necessarily single reviewers being purposefully demeaning or attempting to devalue a performer's art by way of tying non-artistic factors to the overall judgment of the work, but just another way in which the fundamentally different way in which males and females are perceived in every field.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: David_Dovey on 28 Feb 2011, 14:11
The moral of this story is that the worst possible thing you can do to negate the obscene good fortune of being born a straight white man is to become politically aware.

SO CONFUSING  :psyduck:
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: Scandanavian War Machine on 28 Feb 2011, 14:19
"'Only the dreamer venoms all his days,
'Bearing more woe than all his sins deserve"
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: rynne on 28 Feb 2011, 14:21
Kim Gordon is an interesting case, namely because there was a period in Sonic Youth's history where she did very consciously make a shift from being just another band member to dressing up and playing ingenue, and this has certainly been read as a cynical move on the part of the band in an effort to draw more attention to themselves.

No Wave was interesting in that pretty much every single band was co-ed. Some of the ladies flaunted their sexuality (usually confrontationally, e.g., Lydia Lunch), but at least as many didn't.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: Elysiana on 28 Feb 2011, 14:28
Dovey - Okay, I getcha! Yes, I was under the assumption that you were saying it was maliciously sexist, but you cleared it up and that makes sense.

A question that crossed my mind that is related to the second half of your post, not because I think you implied it but because I'm curious to hear your opinion - do you think that less-attractive female musicians are seen as more genuine because they aren't "relying" on their looks? This is somewhat related to SWM's post about whether that group would be more popular if they were better-looking. If that's true, would they really have more fans or can you even call them fans at that point?

I have a lot to say on this issue but for the most part I try to stay out of the debate because all the women I know in music hate it being brought up. I guess I can kind of see how having a male over-zealously defend perceived double standards can be yet another form of patronisation. So it's basically a kaleidoscope of difficulty, which undoubtedly contributes to how often it is swept under the rug.
That's sad to me that you'd feel like you can't defend a position because it would be misconstrued like that. I've always found it frustrating that some women refuse to allow men to stand up for them. I don't like hearing women say "I don't need a MAN to help me out" because that seems just as sexist to me. I don't know if that's what you were getting at necessarily, but I thought I'd throw it out there.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: KvP on 28 Feb 2011, 15:15
Even more confusing when you take into account the fact that I think a lot of people actually give women the benefit of the doubt over men or are a touch more sympathetic towards females in music. Certainly I am guilty of this positive discrimination and it remains to be seen if this causes it to even out somewhat.
I'm a little confused by this, could you give us some concrete examples?
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: David_Dovey on 28 Feb 2011, 15:42
Dovey - Okay, I getcha! Yes, I was under the assumption that you were saying it was maliciously sexist, but you cleared it up and that makes sense.

A question that crossed my mind that is related to the second half of your post, not because I think you implied it but because I'm curious to hear your opinion - do you think that less-attractive female musicians are seen as more genuine because they aren't "relying" on their looks? This is somewhat related to SWM's post about whether that group would be more popular if they were better-looking. If that's true, would they really have more fans or can you even call them fans at that point?

This is a really interesting question! I can't say for sure how I feel about it, but my gut reaction is that, no, unfortunately this bias only works in the negative, and that there's no positive flipside whereby unattractive female (or male, I guess) performers get a credibility boost based on their unattractiveness. The closest I can come to an example of this is Devin Townsend, who goes out of his way to point out, and often exaggerate his ugliness as part of his often self-deprecating humour. Heck, I don't even consider Devy to be that ugly anyway since he cut the skullet off.

Oh actually; how about this? Beth Ditto, who is aggressive and confrontational about her obesity, and lauded for it by some. I wouldn't say it's universally positive, but I definitely think a big part of why she is a recognisable identity is because she is overweight and very open about her acceptance of it.

I guess the way to turn biases against unattractive traits is to play them up? But I wouldn't say someone that is "passively" unattractive, if you will, would necessary see any possible benefit from it, even in something as ethereal and amorphous as "credibility".
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: pwhodges on 28 Feb 2011, 15:45
I really want to make a biting comment about music  being totally independent of looks, and whatever is affected by looks being mere entertainment,  but it's bedtime, and I'm tired and wouldn't get it right.  So please work out what I would have said, and take it as read, OK?
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: Elysiana on 28 Feb 2011, 16:07
Paul, I don't know that you'd have to be biting about it because that's kind of what it seems like most of us are, in some form or another, agreeing upon - that it doesn't make sense to say that someone's music is any better or worse due to looks but a lot of people still apparently think it is. I've heard people say "How can you like person X, they can't sing" and the response is "But he/she is SO hot! How dare you say they can't sing!" Sad but true.

It would be interesting to come up with a band where nobody ever sees the members, doesn't know whether they're male or female, but are excellent musicians (in a technical sense - personal tastes aside, that is), and then have a control group that eventually gets to see who the members are, and another group that is told they are all female, another that is told they are all male, etc. Or show them pics of the group where in one, the members are attractive and in the other they're not, and see if it changes anyone's opinion on the band.


Dovey - True that about the skullet. It's still creepy as fuck when he grins though lol. It's funny, though, how his look has coincided so well with the type of music he's producing. The skullet fit the SYL feel so well; bald is working for the DTP.

I'd never heard of Beth Ditto before (just looked her up though). I'm going to risk sounding like a jerk and guess that it's mostly females that laud her for it, while men mostly ridicule her. Yes/no? The only reason I guess this is that it so often seems to be the case - for example, Camryn Manheim caught a lot of flak from men for being a larger woman, while a lot of women were all "yay girl power" about her. TDW Geek posted a pic of an overweight girl in an anime cosplay costume the other day, and of course there was a huge discussion on whether or not she should have even attempted it. A lot of girls said "you go girl", a lot of guys said "she's disgusting", and a very few guys said the other guys were shallow. Then again, that's the internet and you kind of have to take it with a grain of salt, but I thought it was fairly telling.


Also: the Dixie Chicks and other bands that make music about how awesome girls are. Why is this okay (well, I don't think it is, but a lot of girls apparently do) but if a guy group did it, people would freak out? I feel like this sort of reverse sexism is just as harmful, but it's often overlooked and even revered under the guise of equality.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: tommydski on 28 Feb 2011, 16:10
I'm a little confused by this, could you give us some concrete examples?

That's fairly difficult to do. You could set up a poll and ask people if they are more willing to give female artists a chance than male but you'd be relying on people being honest about it. I doubt it's just me though.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: ALoveSupreme on 28 Feb 2011, 16:54
Also: the Dixie Chicks and other bands that make music about how awesome girls are. Why is this okay (well, I don't think it is, but a lot of girls apparently do) but if a guy group did it, people would freak out? I feel like this sort of reverse sexism is just as harmful, but it's often overlooked and even revered under the guise of equality.

This is probably because people who are on the other end of the stick as far as minimization in society goes typically don't need the rub, so to speak.  It's sort of the same reason that there are no "straight pride" parades or, as a companion to the Black Entertainment Network, there is no "White Entertainment Network."  To suggest something such as a straight pride parade would be quite offensive and most likely typically come from a place of homophobia.  There are no specifically named "White Entertainment Networks" because, for the most part, television programming is aimed at a white, middle class viewers and demographics.

edit: Wait I think I totally missed your point, you were saying if a guy group made music about how awesome girls are it would be something people would freak out over?
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: Akima on 28 Feb 2011, 16:58
I've never seen a band get trashed like this for "not being able to play." ever. sometimes bands get trashed for their attitude or the music that they choose to play, but never for the ability of the musicians. and we have some terrible bands at this school. am I crazy for thinking that it's because they are women? and being pissed off? too much kathleen hanna? do you guys think that men are more critical of women playing music than they would be of other men? I can't figure out why the guy who wrote that comment would specifically identify himself as male (you have the option to identify yourself as a gender or to leave it blank).
The OP reads a little like someone being surprised that the sea is wet and salty.

Anonymous BBS-style systems attract harsh, possibly unfair comments? Oh say it is not so! I am shocked! One isolated comment isn't enough to build any sort of theory about how men see female musicians in any event. Was this comment typical of the response the band received, or just a random arsehole?

Are guys more critical of women playing music than men? A high proportion of men are more critical of women doing anything than men in the same field. Especially if the field is one that some men feel is "male territory" like technical professions (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kathy_Sierra) or computer/video games (http://fatuglyorslutty.com/about/). At least the BBS-poster confined his criticism to the band members' musicianship, rather than launching into the routine slagging of their appearance, chastity, sexual preference etc.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: Elysiana on 28 Feb 2011, 17:04
edit: Wait I think I totally missed your point, you were saying if a guy group made music about how awesome girls are it would be something people would freak out over?
No, I was saying guys singing about guys being awesome, but that is a good point too! Of course, that pretty much happens a lot already, and already a lot of girls have problems with it. It's like if guys talk about how cool it is to be a guy, girls freak out and say they're chauvinists. And if guys talk about how cool girls are, girls freak out and say they're chauvinists.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: ALoveSupreme on 28 Feb 2011, 17:26
edit: Wait I think I totally missed your point, you were saying if a guy group made music about how awesome girls are it would be something people would freak out over?
if guys talk about how cool girls are, girls freak out and say they're chauvinists.
ha, yes, sort of to Tommy's point.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: KvP on 28 Feb 2011, 17:32
ITT we learn that the problem with women and music is lippy women / political correctness (?)

It must be so hard to be a successful rock musician :(
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: Radical AC on 28 Feb 2011, 18:06
Misogynistic lyrics talking about why being a male is awesome?  I'm going to go ahead and point you in the very general direction of mainstream rap. 
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: JimmyJazz on 28 Feb 2011, 18:07
Right, cause hip-hop is definitely the only genre where that happens  :roll:
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: Radical AC on 28 Feb 2011, 18:09
I didn't say it was.  To me, that question just had a pretty obvious answer.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: JimmyJazz on 28 Feb 2011, 18:34
Sorry, I didn't mean to be rude. I just had a conversation with a friend who tried to argue to me that hip-hop was the only musical genre that perpetuates misogyny he could think of and ugh don't you hate it when you find out friends have disgusting attitudes towards stuff like this
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: Allybee on 28 Feb 2011, 23:04
Anonymous BBS-style systems attract harsh, possibly unfair comments? Oh say it is ot so! I am shocked! One isolated comment isn't enough to build any sort of theory about how men see female musicians in any event. Was this comment typical of the response the band received, or just a random arsehole?

Are guys more critical of women playing music than men? A high proportion of men are more critical of women doing anything than men in the same field. Especially if the field is one that some men feel is "male territory" like technical professions (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kathy_Sierra) or computer/video games (http://fatuglyorslutty.com/about/). At least the BBS-poster confined his criticism to the band members' musicianship, rather than launching into the routine slagging of their appearance, chastity, sexual preference etc.

comments concern context that would take a long, long time for someone to gather. music on my campus is a boy's club. it is well-established. I don't know why I made a thread about it. speaking to your last sentence, a comment from the same board about the last girl band on campus, a band that no longer plays:

Quote
remember a band made up of a what appeared to be all lesbians. Found the fat bull dyke lead singer to be both scary and satanic when she was making high pitched screeches into the microphone. Why knows maybe thats her dykish feminist mating call. Does anyone have any answers?

I've decided that I'd rather play guitar than argue in this thread, though, so, whatever.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: Nodaisho on 28 Feb 2011, 23:45
or, as a companion to the Black Entertainment Network, there is no "White Entertainment Network."
I'd say whatever channels play Jeff Foxworthy and Larry the Cable Guy would count as the companion to BET.

KvP, I think you have your ear to the ground so far as music in Fort Collins goes, right? How do people think of Shel? The only people I know that know of them actually know them personally (one of my friends roadied for them in the past).

I didn't know who Beth Ditto was previous to this thread, but fat acceptance pisses me off. Frequently, it isn't just acceptance, it's encouraging people not to even try to change if they get overweight. If people went on the record encouraging anorexics to continue not eating, or bulimics to keep binging and purging? There would be outrage. But people start encouraging people to stay in a state that will likely lead to a heart attack by 50? They are lauded for going against the cultural pressures of attractiveness.

I'm all for someone's right to destroy their own body, but don't encourage others to do the same.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: Lummer on 28 Feb 2011, 23:54
There's also the important thing to note, that Beth Ditto is just using her whole "HEY LOOK IM FAT AND PROUD"-schtick to cover up the fact that her band is stunningly mediocre and superfluous. Ask yourself; would that band ever have gotten anywhere if it weren't for the controversy she drummed up?

Title: Re: women and music
Post by: KvP on 01 Mar 2011, 00:24
Beth Ditto has a powerhouse diva voice. If people weren't so freaked out by her fat lesbo "provocation", they'd probably be talking about that.

*e: The scare quotes around "provocation" indicate that people are freaked out by the fact that she's fat and a lesbian, not that she is doing a poor job of provoking people. That would require at least some tacit intent on her part, where I don't think there is any.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: ALoveSupreme on 01 Mar 2011, 08:18
I think my problem with "fat acceptance" is that it more often then not crosses into the "fat advocacy" realm.  Maybe this is naive, but wouldn't the idea of "health advocacy" be more realistic than "fat acceptance?"

Because, honestly, your point above was the first time I read something that made the "fat acceptance" movement seem realistic or not just someone being a douchebag about their size and pretty much being an advocate (as you put, which I liked).

Title: Re: women and music
Post by: Elysiana on 01 Mar 2011, 08:54
As a fat chick myself, I'm honestly inclined to agree with Nodaisho at least to some extent. There's a point where being overweight IS necessarily unhealthy. However, it's people like my ex-husband that piss me off; those who think that at 5'6", 125lbs is unhealthily overweight. There's this weird standard being promoted that people like that runway model are actually healthy and should be the norm, and to me that's pretty sickening. But the opposite is true too, as Nodaisho pointed out - neither one is healthy, and I got the feeling he/she IS talking about fat advocacy, not just acceptance.

I have problems with hypothyroidism and was on medication for it for years but it didn't change any of the symptoms. I gained 70lbs in about 7 years; I now weigh 180 and carry it well, but I know I'm not healthy. The scary part is when I joke about being a fat girl and someone who weighs more than me says "pfft, you don't even know what it is to be fat." No, I really do. I get the ridicule, I get the people who tell me I shouldn't eat this or that. Just because I am not the largest doesn't mean that I am healthy or that I don't feel pressure about it.

At this point, even I fall into the trap of "I'm not good-looking anyway, why should I care what I weigh? It doesn't matter because people will look at me the same way no matter what. Why bother losing 20lbs?" That's not a good attitude to have. I'm frustrated with myself because I know if I took the time to exercise, the pounds might not fall off but I'd be healthier at the very least. To say that it's okay to not even bother is NOT acceptable. I can't sit there and tell myself "I hate it that I get winded doing simple things nowadays" and then not do anything about it and feel sorry for myself.

For whatever reason, it was maybe 5 or 10 years ago that suddenly people started saying "It's okay if you're fat, you're still awesome" and people took it to an extreme. Girls that had no business wearing skinny jeans were trying to pour themselves into them, or wearing shirts where their belly hung out. That's not just acceptance, that's having no idea what's flattering and trying to pass it off as "You can't tell me how I should look, I'm fat and proud of it." I've known people who got pissed off because their DOCTOR told them they needed to look at their lifestyle and make some changes. "How dare she say that! Doesn't she know I have feelings?"

I agree that shaming them isn't the best way to act about it, but I am all for making it important for people to realize that it ISN'T okay to let yourself go completely and just say "Oh yeah? You can't tell me I'm fat, I'm a unique and special snowflake." And it's especially not okay to say, "I'm fat, and look at me! I'm famous! Fat chicks unite! We'll show them!" That's just as bad as saying, "Girls and guys should be equal, so screw guys! Girl power! Guys suck!"
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: Elysiana on 01 Mar 2011, 10:40
That's the point though, a lot of people aren't just saying "It's okay to be fat", they're implying that being fat is BETTER than being skinny, and skinny girls should go fuck themselves. It's just as stupid as saying the opposite.

I'm not sure how to answer you re: telling people they should take care of themselves. I think you're only reading half my statement though. I am not saying it's not okay to be fat. I'm saying that if you are fat, you better grow some balls and recognize that it's true. If you're okay with it, be okay with it, but don't say "Well, at least I'm not a skinny whore." I repeat what I said above - reverse discrimination is just as stupid.

Someone can't bitch and moan about how they can't do this or that, and when another person tells them "Well, you could if you lost weight" they get pissed off about it. If I have a choice to lose weight and choose not to, I can't then say "You can't call me fat!" I am making the choice to take all the negativity that goes along with it, whether or not it's right. I can't go to the doctor and when they tell me "You know you're obese, let's put you on a diet plan" I say, "How dare you tell me that! It offends my delicate sensibilities!" A doctor's job is to keep me healthy. By choosing not to listen to their advice, I am choosing to accept any health problems that come my way because of my weight.

Right now I'm 6 months pregnant. I have a one-hour glucose test in a few weeks. I am at high risk for gestational diabetes because of my weight. Do you know how it feels to realize that I fucked up and am already not giving my daughter the best life I can? It has nothing to do with people telling me I'm fat and me feeling depressed about that; it has everything to do with my health. Nobody wants to be unhealthy, we've just made bad choices and it's often hard to change those until it's too late. Shame isn't the way to fix that, but it also doesn't mean that everyone should sit back and say it's fine.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: allison on 01 Mar 2011, 11:54
The idea of fat advocacy is ridiculous. I am also a fat woman and I have been fat my whole life! I don't love it, I honestly wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy. It's not better than being skinny, but some fat people are maybe trying to make their image a little more acceptable, to not feel like people find them absolutely repulsive.


At this point, even I fall into the trap of "I'm not good-looking anyway, why should I care what I weigh? It doesn't matter because people will look at me the same way no matter what. Why bother losing 20lbs?" That's not a good attitude to have. I'm frustrated with myself because I know if I took the time to exercise, the pounds might not fall off but I'd be healthier at the very least. To say that it's okay to not even bother is NOT acceptable. I can't sit there and tell myself "I hate it that I get winded doing simple things nowadays" and then not do anything about it and feel sorry for myself.


So, the other day I was at work, just standing there, and some guys looked at me and one loudly remarked to the other that I should "consider trying out for the A&E program Heavy." Now, I am not that fat. I am not morbidly obese, I'm a size 16. But this kind of fat-shaming makes me actually frightened to go to a gym. If people are going to ridicule me when I am at work, what will they say to or about me when I am sweating and winded and making a pathetic attempt at running?

also

Girls that had no business wearing skinny jeans were trying to pour themselves into them, or wearing shirts where their belly hung out. That's not just acceptance, that's having no idea what's flattering and trying to pass it off as "You can't tell me how I should look, I'm fat and proud of it."

Who the hell are you to say whose business it is to do anything regarding their own appearance? I wear goddamn skinny jeans and they actually look pretty nice. Maybe I don't enjoy another's fashion choices, but I'm not about to tell them they can't wear it. That's just absolutely fucking ridiculous. Maybe they feel sexy in it, maybe they like the way they look. But of course fat people are disgusting and shouldn't be able to feel happy with their appearance! MUUMUUS FOR ALL THE FATTIES! Better yet, just stay inside until you get skinny. Don't make me look at you.


This thread is not about fat vs. skinny in terms of health though, it's about female musicians!

This (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s_Zs7XS3XUo) is Adele. She is an incredible singer who works very, very hard and has some mainstream success (I think she has two Grammys?). Apart from loving her music, I think she's incredibly beautiful. She also happens to be overweight. However, when this is mentioned in interviews, she basically shuts down the question by saying "until this affects my music, my health or my having a boyfriend, it doesn't matter." I know people will say that this is already affecting her health, but I suppose she means not immediately.

The reason I mention her is that she never brings up her weight, and does her best to let her music and her process as an artist be the focus of attention. She doesn't use it to her advantage, in my opinion, but she also doesn't let it hinder her career.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: Nodaisho on 01 Mar 2011, 12:21
The obvious implication of this argument is that it's better to be fat and ashamed rather than fat and content with yourself, regardless of your physical condition, because being fat is regarded as inherently inferior to being skinny. Whether or not it's healthy is totally besides the point because you can be skinny as hell and the most unhealthy person in the world, and conversely, you can be heavy-set and in good shape. There is a correlation, of course, but even so, fat acceptance isn't the same as fat advocacy, nor is it about promoting an unhealthy lifestyle - being fat doesn't mean you're not living a healthy life, and being skinny doesn't mean you are! Don't you think it's unbelievably cruel to make obese people ashamed of themselves just so they'll have an extra incentive to go for a jog now and then?

And while we're talking about eating disorders: what do you think causes more eating disorders - telling people it's okay to be fat, or shaming them into trying to be thin?

(And I think you're underestimating the value of combating oppressive standards of attractiveness when this is what a runway model looks like (http://www.mopo.ca/uploaded_images/skinny-model1-723028.jpg).)

Actually, no, that isn't the implication at all. Thanks for putting words in my mouth, though. I have always found "fat acceptance" to have an almost complete overlap with fat advocacy. I'm not concerned with someone being chubby. I'm concerned with someone being in a physical condition where if they were to have a child at 30, they probably wouldn't live to see them graduate highschool. I'm concerned with peoples' health problems, and how when people say that they want to lose weight when they are overweight, people will try to discourage them because you should be happy the way you are.

Shaming someone into trying to be thin causes more eating disorders, but telling someone it is okay to have 40% body fat causes more heart attacks.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: Nodaisho on 01 Mar 2011, 12:26
I have, actually. And a lot of people I talk fitness with mention it happening. Maybe it's an American thing.

I've gotten similar responses when I mention that I'm trying to put on more muscle as well.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: Elysiana on 01 Mar 2011, 12:41
Who the hell are you to say whose business it is to do anything regarding their own appearance? I wear goddamn skinny jeans and they actually look pretty nice. Maybe I don't enjoy another's fashion choices, but I'm not about to tell them they can't wear it. That's just absolutely fucking ridiculous. Maybe they feel sexy in it, maybe they like the way they look. But of course fat people are disgusting and shouldn't be able to feel happy with their appearance! MUUMUUS FOR ALL THE FATTIES! Better yet, just stay inside until you get skinny. Don't make me look at you.
Good lord, calm down. I'm not at all saying that only 100-lb waifs should wear them, I'm saying that people are taking it overboard. I know several girls our (I'm also a 16) size who look awesome in them. They do NOT look awesome when they're trying to get into a 10. It doesn't make any sense. I would say the same about a 6 trying to get into a 2. It looks silly, like people have no idea what size they are. Personally, I can't get away with them because I have a big ass. I would look like a fool if I tried. Does it bother me to know that I shouldn't wear a particular style because it's unflattering? Hell no.


Jeans - I've also heard people say that someone shouldn't feel like they should lose weight, after they've said they'd like to. I'm inclined to agree with Nodaisho that it may be an American thing. It seems like there isn't much middle ground sometimes. It's either "hey fatty" or "be proud!" but not "Hey, if you want to lose weight, I'll be here for encouragement."
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: allison on 01 Mar 2011, 12:54
They do NOT look awesome when they're trying to get into a 10. It doesn't make any sense. I would say the same about a 6 trying to get into a 2. It looks silly, like people have no idea what size they are.

But it still comes down to you telling another person how they should dress, regardless of their opinion. I disagree with that. You can dislike it, but don't act like the authority.

On the point of fat acceptance/advocacy, it comes down to whether that person has approached you to talk about their weight issues. If my mom or boyfriend or friend or anyone came to me and said, "if you want to lose weight, I'll be there for you" without any prompting on my part, I'd be furious. Sometimes I really get down on myself about the way I look and what I want to hear is "you're not actually a morbidly obese social pariah" as opposed to "well, if you lose weight, I'm behind that".
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: Nodaisho on 01 Mar 2011, 13:02
I don't see how the latter two aren't compatible. The point isn't to be proud that you're fat, the point is that there shouldn't be any negativity attached to being fat in itself - you should be able to be proud of your body regardless of how it looks. If you aren't satisfied with it and want to work out to lose some weight or gain muscle or whatever, that's fine! Good! Super. If someone start eating well and exercising and their friends tell them to stop, the friends totally missed the point of everything ever and should be locked in a basement for several years with only a tea cosy to amuse themselves with.
The thing is, while that would generally be the idea, that isn't what I have seen from "fat acceptance" people. It's a mis-used term mostly.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: Elysiana on 01 Mar 2011, 13:08
Jeans - ha, yes, and that's kind of what I'm saying (the latter part). And there's even negativity surrounding losing weight sometimes - if I were to tell someone who's got 50lbs on me that I was going to start going to the gym, I'd prepare myself for a possible negative reaction along the lines of "Well I suppose you think I should too then."

Basically you can't win no matter what, because someone will always find something to be offended about. Happens all the time.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: KharBevNor on 01 Mar 2011, 14:04
I am also a fat woman and I have been fat my whole life!

You're not fat. You're just a bit chubby, poseur.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: ruyi on 01 Mar 2011, 17:15
This is a little aside from the issue of how we think / talk about weight, but I think it's important w.r.t. weight and health:

Fatness is a poor way to measure unhealthiness (http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2011/02/15/hello-fatness-is-a-poor-way-to-measure-unhealthiness)

"being active is the more important factor [for preserving health], even if the activity does not succeed in causing one to lose weight."
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: Nodaisho on 01 Mar 2011, 17:28
That study used BMI. That's enough reason for me to toss that shit out immediately. I know, BMI works for the majority of people. If you want to be taken seriously, though? Don't use 19th century science when you have much better options available. Also, finding one study in nutrition/health isn't much. You can find one study for almost everything. Sure, there are some fat people that are healthy. There are also skinny people that are unhealthy. In general, though, being obese is bad for you. It's bad for your joints, it's bad for your heart, it's bad for hormone production, it's bad all around.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: allison on 01 Mar 2011, 19:37
does it seriously hinder your ability to play music
specifically if you are a woman
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: Nodaisho on 01 Mar 2011, 20:00
Depends on whether you are fat enough to have difficulty reaching around a guitar. Or fat enough that you can't finger single strings.

So for many Americans, yes.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: allison on 01 Mar 2011, 20:08
I know this isn't a woman, but here is a video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KI0nBVmvZJ8&playnext=1&list=PL2FF8FF22855C7204) of Matt Andersen, who is 400+ lbs and and a really incredible blues guitar player. This song, fittingly is called "One Size Never Fits".
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: Elysiana on 02 Mar 2011, 07:08
So guys, the chick from Theatre of Tragedy has a thin, reedy voice and is often off-key, but they're often hailed as one of the most popular female-fronted metal bands out there and I have heard people say her voice is strong and stunningly beautiful. What gives? Am I just pickier than most? Is it because the "novelty" of having a female singer leads people to follow them? Do you think that having a female singer but a male band can lead to popularity more than having an all-female band?
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: ALoveSupreme on 02 Mar 2011, 07:53
Well, I had never heard of this group, but her voice sounds about as good as I would expect someone in the genre sounding.  Not amazing but passable as good.

I don't think it's sexist to acknowledge the fact that, yes, this band probably enjoys better success because of their thin female singer.  I'm going to guess this band plays up the dichotomy of having a singer like that in a metal band or something obvious like that.  

Women in metal is an interesting topic as well.  I think the website is down now, but I remember reading an article on xsisterhoodx.com at least 5 years ago (or longer, probably) by the singer of Chunsa / Fall River that was very enlightening.  I can't remember all of her points, but one thing she noted was how frustrating that even when a group or underground movement tries to be accepting of women, she would still find ignorant sexism occurring, such as comparing her band to other metal/hardcore bands that feature a female singer, even if the two bands sound nothing alike.  The comparison would be drawn simply because both bands feature a female vocalist.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: ALoveSupreme on 02 Mar 2011, 07:56
"The band made use of contrasting vocals (commonly referred to as "Beauty and the Beast" vocals)" - their wiki page

yep.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: Elysiana on 02 Mar 2011, 08:13
Yes, but doesn't that mean any band with a female and a male singer could be said to be "playing it up"? That's a really difficult question to deal with. A band with a female lead is already going to stand out because it's a pretty male-dominated industry. A lot of them use the "sex sells" theory, though - Lacuna Coil comes to mind. Granted, she has an amazing voice and they're a band that has stood out considerably since they first started, but they definitely play up the "hot chick" aspect. I wonder, does metal distinctly place female singers on a pedestal? Hmm.

Re: comparisons - that's a tough one. I have noticed that happening, but mostly with people who don't listen to much metal to begin with. To be fair, a lot of them DO have a lot in common - power metal has a lot more female-fronted bands than death metal has, I would think, so when people think of female singers, they tend to be in similar bands. But as someone who has been listening to metal for a decently long time now, I hear them and can tell the differences a lot faster.

I mean, I've had people tell me that Opeth is like GWAR because they both growl, or that Dream Theater is like Rhapsody because they both have guys that are high-pitched singers.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: ALoveSupreme on 02 Mar 2011, 08:27
No, I would say a band plays up the utilization of a female vocalist when they focus on the fact that it is a female, rather than, say the registers of the vocalists or nature in which they sing.  My guess is a press release for any of these types of bands would mention that a band has a woman with a band photo that features her directly visible before they have a release that does neither.

I'm not even really saying I completely fault a band for doing that.  It could be out of unintentionally ignorant sexism or basically just giving in and acknowledging that, yes, metal and hardcore is mostly a medium dominated by male performers so when a female becomes involved it is pretty obvious and the smart way to market that is to capitalize on it.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: tommydski on 02 Mar 2011, 09:29
Basically you can't win no matter what, because someone will always find something to be offended about. Happens all the time.

This sentence essentially sums up my difficult relationship with feminism.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: KvP on 02 Mar 2011, 11:54
Ah yes, the white man's handwave
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: KharBevNor on 02 Mar 2011, 12:13
"The band made use of contrasting vocals (commonly referred to as "Beauty and the Beast" vocals)" - their wiki page

ToT invented the 'Beauty and the Beast' aesthetic (female clean singer, male growler), but it was a concept that had a pretty short hey-day. By the early 00's a lot  the original bands were dropping the growler entirely (often as part of the mysterious millenial gothic metal die-off where everyone decided that they'd make more money being third-rate darkwave bands). It's still an incredibly popular form of metal though, in Europe anyway, given that Cradle of Filth and Nightwish are both in a way exponents. Actually, it's more common nowadays to find a band with two dedicated male singers. Of course, contrasting clean and growled vocals wasn't entirely a new idea (I am not sure when it was first done, the earliest example I can think of off the top of my head is Edge of Sanity's song 'Enigma', from 1992's Unorthodox, but I'm sure there must be earlier examples). The male/female thing probably pioneered the idea of consistently duetting though.

It's maybe interesting to consider the contrast between bands where a female vocalist sings in a stereotypically female style (ie soprano) and bands such as Nuclear Death (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XB0BmEWMOSg), Sacrilege (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MK9an4AHrA&feature=related), Acid King (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O6eNI3r2gEI)* and of course Arch Enemy (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wMGpcjzb67Q). Look at the contrast between Angela Gossow and someone like Tarja Turunen. Tarja will always appear very feminine: dresses, pale make-up, etc. and deports herself somewhat like an opera singer. She is not in any way a frontwoman (frontperson?), whereas Angela dresses and acts pretty much like a male singer from a melodeath band would. (Interestingly, Nightwish's new singer dresses like a rock chick, moves about the stage and does crowd banter).

BTW, when you're talking about ToT's singer, are you talking about Nell Sigland or Liv Kristine? There's a pretty important difference in vocal quality in my mind.


*Another band where the sole female member is the lead guitarist, as well as vocalist.


EDIT: Thinking about it, one might actually say Cradle of Filth in some ways provide an interesting twist on the standard gender roles associated with beauty and the beast vocals (where we might expect the woman to be a victim and the growler sexually predatory), in that Dani Filth's 'character' is just as likely to be the victim of Sarah Jezebel Deva's 'character' as vice versa.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: Patrick on 02 Mar 2011, 12:30
If Dragonforce had a female lead, I still wouldn't give an honest shit about Dragonforce.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: Elysiana on 02 Mar 2011, 12:38
Sorry, I was speaking of Liv. I pretty much wrote them off after their first couple of albums because I couldn't stand her voice, so I wasn't even aware that they had a new vocalist. The new gal definitely sounds much different, as does their music.

It's funny, Nightwish became so absolutely huge because of Tarja's classically trained voice, but they've really moved away from that like they want to forget it happened. I feel that so many metal bands have migrated towards sounding more mainstream and having a more Evanescence-like flair, and I don't know if that's just a natural progression or if it's because Evanescence's popularity was enticing. It's frustrating to me because I don't care for them and I'm tired of people saying "I love gothic metal, Evanescence is so good!"


Also, Karyn Crisis. Nobody's gonna say she sounds like Anneke van Giersbergen or Floor Janssen haha. I really do, though, think that a lot of the confusion comes in with similarly-styled music. The people who say this person sounds just like that person are usually the ones who have trouble distinguishing between different types of music to begin with.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: tommydski on 02 Mar 2011, 13:40
Ah yes, the white man's handwave

Fucked if you do, fucked if you don't.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: Johnny C on 02 Mar 2011, 13:51
yeah man i mean that's kind of part & parcel of almost all discourse
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: KvP on 02 Mar 2011, 14:42
I wouldn't suggest that "Fucked if you do, fucked if you don't" isn't something that a man in feminist discourse legitimately feels. There is a lot of real frustration and conflict with trying to live out feminist ideals as a man, that's part of recognizing and mitigating privilege. But is a resignation, not a justification, for disregarding the issues that it raises. You're not saying "This is impossible", you're saying "This is too hard", or perhaps more accurately, "I am being asked to give more than I am comfortable with". The trick is holding people accountable while not being a harsh taskmaster, but also not treating them like children.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: tommydski on 02 Mar 2011, 14:46
Most women I know basically despise feminism, partly because they are woefully misinformed about the entire concept and partly because they don't realise how irreparably insidious patriarchy is.

As a male, it's difficult to argue with women who think this without becoming part of the problem again. I take more of an interest in feminism than most women but at the point where I'm telling them what to do or believe, my contribution has essentially become counter-productive. That's more or less why despite having roughly 98% accord with feminism, I wouldn't ever call myself a feminist. I can act how I think it appropriate for things to improve but I can't really do any more than that.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: Johnny C on 02 Mar 2011, 15:09
feminisms

i don't think a conversation about feminism with a woman who doesn't like or agree with it because she's misinformed has to be about telling her what to believe. i think it just has to be about maybe why you believe it's worthwhile. also i had similar reasoning for not calling myself a feminist (i.e. i am literally patriarchy walking) but feminists i explained that to (and also like dudes who face oppression e.g. a native american guy from one of my classes) kept getting mad at me about it and insisted that i not use that as an excuse for not being a feminist so now whatever fuck it i'm a feminist and proud of it

Title: Re: women and music
Post by: ALoveSupreme on 02 Mar 2011, 16:01
I agree with those people, really.  I am a minority male who self identifies as a feminist and I really don't see a problem with that.  I don't know who these women are that give you shit for being a progressive human being but that's ridiculous.  Identifying as a feminist doesn't mean you have to have an answer to non-feminists and it doesn't mean you have to be a "perfect" feminist.  But I feel like if you support women's rights and recognize that the "system" (be it societal or whatever) isn't perfect and is still skewed to enable men more than women, you're doing fine and you don't need to pretend to be anything else. 
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: pwhodges on 02 Mar 2011, 16:12
I'm a humanist.

The thing with specific -isms  is that to be worthwhile they must be transitional; they succeed by not needing to exist.  Of course, I realise that they can have partial successes by improving matters on the way.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: ALoveSupreme on 02 Mar 2011, 16:41
I agree with that in theory but it doesn't really hold up realistically.  For example, a person that aligns with a conservative philosophy could consider themselves a "humanist," but support an abortion ban.  This would not be typically considered in line with "feminist" ideology (so far as I understand it).  While they may believe they support something that is best for "human beings," it may not work out that way to someone else who would simply consider themselves a "humanist."

I am IN NO WAY trying to incite an abortion debate, it's simply the easiest example I could come up with.

 
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: KvP on 02 Mar 2011, 16:53
Goin' back a bit
I'm not gonna retrench arguments that were already made perfectly clear in Radical AC's posts upthread, but I will suggest you go ahead and GIS the Top 40/100/200/whatever bands in the charts right now, and -more pointedly- your favourite bands (it's oretty safe to assume that the Top 40 crowd and you don't have many picks in common if you're posting here) and tell me how many legitimately unattractive people you see.
(http://i.imgur.com/uWIJ6.jpg)

Also Jonny Greenwood's got a funny-shaped head.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: nufan on 02 Mar 2011, 17:18
(i.e. i am literally patriarchy walking)

Really interested to know what you mean by this. Do you mean you have a family and you are the breadwinner, or this is what you are expected to be, or is this what you want? I mean, the latter two are mostly choices and you don't sound too keen on patriarchy, and from what I've gathered being on these boards you're not the former.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: David_Dovey on 02 Mar 2011, 19:47
Goin' back a bit [...]

Literally was thinking of Radiohead the entire time I was writing that post.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: Johnny C on 03 Mar 2011, 06:58
Really interested to know what you mean by this. Do you mean you have a family and you are the breadwinner, or this is what you are expected to be, or is this what you want? I mean, the latter two are mostly choices and you don't sound too keen on patriarchy, and from what I've gathered being on these boards you're not the former.

no i mean i'm a white hetero male so almost every system of social interaction that exists in the world privileges me. all i'm missing is being the son of someone in the top tax bracket in the country

I agree with those people, really.  I am a minority male who self identifies as a feminist and I really don't see a problem with that.  I don't know who these women are that give you shit for being a progressive human being but that's ridiculous.

no you misread me they gave me shit for having a feminist viewpoint but not calling myself a feminist just because i'm a man, they said it's ultimately way more beneficial if i just straight-up call me a feminist and explain to people why
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: Elysiana on 03 Mar 2011, 07:21
The word "feminism" already carries strong connotations - both positive and negative. A lot of that has to do with the fact that, as in so many other things, the vocal overzealous minority tend to overshadow the majority. I have known women who have gotten downright angry at men who call themselves feminists because they "couldn't possibly understand" what women are going through. My university used to have Take Back The Night rallies (sexual assault awareness campaign) and there were often quite a few men there... at least at the beginning. When groups of women starting gathering on the steps of buildings and calling out cruel names and practically spitting on any man that walked by, the number of men who were there to support the cause dwindled rapidly.

I think what Paul said about being a humanist rang true with me - I don't know if he meant the same thing I do, but to call it "feminism" has always struck me as suggesting that women should be treated better than men, not just equal. Possibly that's because there ARE a lot of feminists who believe that (as I said, the vocal overzealous minority) and that's tainted it for me. Feminism shouldn't mean misandry but it's often seen that way (or, too often, IS that way), which is sad.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: Johnny C on 03 Mar 2011, 07:23
yeah but it's not about misandry it's about equity – and paul's point about "transitional" still applies to feminism in a world where the manufacturing industry in juarez, mexico operates the way it does
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: ALoveSupreme on 03 Mar 2011, 08:09
I agree with those people, really.  I am a minority male who self identifies as a feminist and I really don't see a problem with that.  I don't know who these women are that give you shit for being a progressive human being but that's ridiculous.

no you misread me they gave me shit for having a feminist viewpoint but not calling myself a feminist just because i'm a man, they said it's ultimately way more beneficial if i just straight-up call me a feminist and explain to people why

Actually that was my fault for writing in haste, I was addressing Tommy, who, to my assumption from what he said, seems to catch grief from women when he identifies as a feminist.

I was talking with Mary, my girlfriend, about this last night and one thing she noted is that it's foolish for women to "exclude men" from feminism.  Feminism doesn't work as a "transitional movement" without the support of EVERYone.  This obviously can only include men. 
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: Elysiana on 03 Mar 2011, 08:28
Johnny - that's exactly what I'm saying. The problem arises when people SEE it as misandry. Technically it is not, but it's gotten that name due to a few bad eggs. Which is really too bad, because they're only making their journey toward equality that much harder.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: tommydski on 03 Mar 2011, 13:04
Actually that was my fault for writing in haste, I was addressing Tommy, who, to my assumption from what he said, seems to catch grief from women when he identifies as a feminist.

No, it was more I felt disenfranchised in myself. I never called myself a feminist because I used to live with active feminists who hated the appropriation of what they viewed as their liberation movement. Try as you might to be sympathetic, you're never going to fully understand all the subtleties and nuances of actually being a female and thus, you're not really going to be able to think and act the same way.

The main concern is that there will be a point whereby women won't become involved in the debate because it seems like yet another male-dominated environment. Now I only really hear men talking about feminism and again, they seem to be the most persistent, loud and confident so it makes me feel like we've reached that tipping point. Women who are outside of feminism are either content with the level of progress, uninterested in the debate, actively disagree with feminism/other strains of feminism or just see the whole thing as deeply convoluted by the interference of men. Regardless, there came to be a point in my life whereby I realised that as a man, there's very few ways I can actively benefit the feminist cause in myself, short of acting pro-feminist and encouraging other men to do the same.

I suppose it's also because my pro-feminism is largely hypothetical in that I don't really do anything more than the bare minimum and thus, can't really claim to be doing much in terms of actively helping women secure equality. I try to keep my interactions with women as respectable as possible but I'm not sure I do enough to warrant special dispensation.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: tommydski on 03 Mar 2011, 14:48
Quote from: Jens
I don't quite see the connection between not being a woman (as a result, obviously not knowing what it's like to be a woman) and feeling you're misapprehending the term "feminist" - the term doesn't necessarily imply you're trying to know or understand what it's like to be a woman.

No, I'm not misapprehending anything. We have different opinions of the relationship between men and feminism, which is fine. I've met many different people claiming to be feminists and after over a quarter of a century of consideration, the ones I agree with are those who think that men can't be feminists. By all means believe whatever you want but don't delude yourself into thinking that this is something I've merely dabbled in. I wouldn't advise going around saying that your opinion is definitive on this matter either because there isn't a concrete definition.

Put it this way - I've met a lot of men who claim to be feminists and I'm more suspicious and harder on them than men who merely consider themselves to be pro-feminist because for the most part the former don't really seem to understand all the connotations of the term. I'll accept that I'm biased by my own experiences but it's an honest opinion nonetheless.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: tommydski on 03 Mar 2011, 14:57
There are some pretty significant connotative differences between "(female) feminist" and "male feminist" - the latter implies deep sympathy towards the former, rather than an empathic attempt to coopt the term "feminism". (The maleness doesn't even have to be stated, it's obvious through, well, you being a guy.)

This is one definition. Another is that it is an attempt to co-opt the term feminism for whatever reason, usually an ignoble one. Seen it a thousand times, doesn't get any better each time.

Seeing feminism as a girls-only club just seems extremely counterproductive when the problem is systemic in a male-dominated society, it exacerbates the sense a lot of guys have that feminism is a problem only women have, rather than an intrinsic flaw in entire societal structures that encompass members of all genders, a problem for everyone, not just the women.

It's a male problem. Understanding this is why I won't sully the word feminist with my interpretation of what it is to be a woman.

plus, you know, judging by JC's words above there are also feminists who think it's being overly cautious to say you aren't a feminist as a dude, and frankly if it has a chance of making feminist ideas extend further into staunchly male territory, I think I'll risk it, so be it if some people get mad at me.

Rather than "cautious", think of it as respectful.

If you've made up your mind on all this, fine. It still makes me think maybe you've never been in a position whereby you had to tell a woman who was indisputably an active feminist that she was wrong and that your definition is stronger and purer than hers despite the fact that you're not a woman. I have and I like to remember that.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: David_Dovey on 03 Mar 2011, 15:46
I'm really not seeing the point where being a male and labeling yrself a "feminist" irrevocably turns into

a position whereby you had to tell a woman who was indisputably an active feminist that she was wrong and that your definition is stronger and purer than hers despite the fact that you're not a woman

In fact it seems positively counter-intuitive to what someone would do if they took feminism seriously/weren't a dick
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: tommydski on 03 Mar 2011, 15:52
Men definitely feminists, says man.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: Johnny C on 03 Mar 2011, 16:03
no i think he's saying that those don't have to be arguments and in fact (in my experience which i mean is in a gender studies department so different but not by any means limited) often aren't arguments, and they don't necessarily have that endpoint
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: tommydski on 03 Mar 2011, 16:13
If you've seriously never encountered any feminists who have trouble with the co-opting of the word by men, you've probably not had much experience of different factions of feminism.

One day you might encounter one of the hundreds of thousands of women who neither want nor acknowledge the inclusion of men.

When it happens, presumably you'll just tell them they're wrong.

Or maybe they're not.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: ALoveSupreme on 03 Mar 2011, 16:25
"A co-opting or less frequently co-optation most commonly refers to action performed in a number of fields whereby an opponent is nullified or neutralized by absorption but there are other distinct senses as well."

What male feminist does that?  Are you saying that is the interpretation? 

I dunno, I feel like I maybe understand where you're coming from, but also mostly not at all.  I guess I don't know what I would do if I encountered a female who shunned me for being someone who supports her rights as a female, but I would probably not make it seem as though I or my views on what feminism is are superior to hers.  Luckily I have not found myself in that situation, I guess. 
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: Yunior on 03 Mar 2011, 16:38
No, it was more I felt disenfranchised in myself. I never called myself a feminist because I used to live with active feminists who hated the appropriation of what they viewed as their liberation movement. Try as you might to be sympathetic, you're never going to fully understand all the subtleties and nuances of actually being a female and thus, you're not really going to be able to think and act the same way.

I've never really understood this hang-up and maybe you can explain it to me. Why does not fully understanding the "female experience" preclude you from identifying as a feminist? I feel like, yeah, obviously there are some fundamental biological differences and, stemming from that, certain societal expectations that each of us respond to, consciously or otherwise, depending on our gender. But I don't feel like there is some sort of immutable experience of gender. I don't feel like because I am a woman, I understand all women or that I can speak for all women as an authority on the experience of being a woman. I also feel, in a way, as if you are almost not giving yourself enough credit. You know that women, being primarily human, eat, sleep, and do any number of other human things. You also do a lot of those same things; you don't have to sympathize with an experience that you don't understand because a lot of that experience is bridgeable. And when those experiences aren't bridge-able (like you probably are never gonna grow a baby inside yourself or get followed home by a crazy-looking fellow), then yeah, of course, that is a good place to defer to someone who knows what's up.

Also, with respect to the risk of making feminism another male-dominated sphere -- maybe I'm too new to it, but I've honestly never met any loud-mouth-man-feminists. I have met precious few male feminists, and a few more thoughtful men who wouldn't think to use the label/don't label themselves as feminist for any number of (fairly problematic) reasons but who none-the-less appear to me to be thinking critically about women's issues. And they are, by and large, doing a lot more listening than talking (anecdotal generalization what what). I guess I am curious if when you say "male-dominated sphere" if you are talking about the risk of becoming male-dominated applying to academia in specific, or in a broader sense, culturally or something?

Shifting gears back to the original topic, I remember when I was young (Clara the Pre-Teen era or thereabouts) I went to this friend's birthday party that had boys at it, possibly the first boy-girl party I'd gone to since toddlerhood (that's probably a gross exaggeration, but anyways it was a very big deal to the birthday girl that boys were there and I did remember it feeling sort of new somehow), and anyways I was talking to this one boy about the White Stripes and he was like, "Man I love them, but that girl can't drum" followed by a general "Can girls play music?" soliloquy. And I remember I was like, "Heh, yeah" and sort of wracking my brain for some sort of counterexample and feeling suddenly woefully unlearned about what good drumming is or is not. I did not tell him that I thought he was wrong about his "girls playing music" ideas or that I didn't like the White Stripes or even that I played piano for several years and could probably out-music him and whatever lame guitar tabs he learned on the internet. Which is to say, the language of female inadequacy can make even bright, competent women shut up, and it's an important thing to keep in mind and consciously work against. So, there.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: Yunior on 03 Mar 2011, 16:41
Okay yeah and five posts just posted while I wrote that addressing basically the same issue, I feel better now.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: tommydski on 03 Mar 2011, 16:42
What male feminist does that?

The vocal majority who do it for reasons which are absolutely at odds with feminism. The assholes who take courses on women's studies to be in a class which will be predominantly females. The frustrated pseudo-paternal ultra-patronising males who definitely know more than mere women do about being female. The suspiciously super duper sex-positive men who are looking for a positive spin on their porn addictions. Mother fetishists who are looking for surrogate female acceptance in the face of social disinterest from sensible women. I could go on and on and on.

I'm not saying there are no good pro-feminist men, I'm just saying that in my experience they are an absolute minority. I'd prefer it if men didn't use the term because it's sapping attention from more pertinent debates.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: tommydski on 03 Mar 2011, 16:56
that is a good place to defer to someone who knows what's up.

That's exactly what I mean. Fundamentally, we're all human beings but there are crucial differences between the genders too. I don't think a man can honestly claim to understand being a women and thus, I think they should defer on all matters which differentiate the sexes. We're talking literally the difference between men using the term feminist (which they are bizarrely adamant about being allowed to use, you notice?) and another slightly more respectable, dare I say it, modest term like pro-feminist, profeminist or feminist sympathiser etc.

Also, with respect to the risk of making feminism another male-dominated sphere -- maybe I'm too new to it, but I've honestly never met any loud-mouth-man-feminists.

Lucky you. An absolute majority of men I meet who claim to be feminists are out and out charlatans, hence my distaste.

I guess I am curious if when you say "male-dominated sphere" if you are talking about the risk of becoming male-dominated applying to academia in specific, or in a broader sense, culturally or something?

I mean the entire subject becomes consumed by primarily male opinions, so we miss out on the vital female perspective. Men are usually more diligent, stubborn and generally louder in discussions because they for whatever reasons, liberally minded males seem very keen to be seen as being extra feminist.

I'm not saying don't call yourself a feminist if you're a man, I'm saying I don't and won't in the future because I've met a lot of very active feminists who found it offensive.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: Yunior on 03 Mar 2011, 17:36
I'm not saying don't call yourself a feminist if you're a man, I'm saying I don't and won't in the future because I've met a lot of very active feminists who found it offensive.

I can definitely appreciate that you are choosing to represent yourself in a certain way, but I sort of wonder if this line of thinking doesn't hit a wall somehow? Like I personally, as a feminist, wished feminism would evolve to create a space/role for men -- as good fathers, good partners, good colleagues, etc. -- because I feel like so many of the practical, day-to-day issues facing women today (domestic abuse/rape, wage gaps, reproductive rights) would lessen if we put the onus on men to stop thinking of women as lesser or other and to recognize they are deserving of respect and fair treatment in both public and private spheres. Doesn't that sort of mean, by trying not to step on the toes of feminists you know and agree with, you are stepping on my toes?

It's obvious you've thought about it and I'm not trying to convince you of using the label if it's not for you. It's just, to be completely honest, when I meet some man who could potentially label himself as feminist and he chooses not to, it kind of registers to me as a cop-out somehow (I am probably a lot like Johnny C's friends in that way?). I'm not accusing you of copping out, it's just

I invited you to a party and you didn't go and my feelings got hurt  :-(
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: ALoveSupreme on 03 Mar 2011, 18:21
Like I personally, as a feminist, wished feminism would evolve to create a space/role for men -- as good fathers, good partners, good colleagues, etc. -- because I feel like so many of the practical, day-to-day issues facing women today (domestic abuse/rape, wage gaps, reproductive rights) would lessen if we put the onus on men to stop thinking of women as lesser or other and to recognize they are deserving of respect and fair treatment in both public and private spheres.

This.

And, yeah, guys who take women's studies classes to "pick up chicks" are fucking pricks, since when has there never been a fucking prick within a movement that doesn't represent it.

To this logic, white people should not support equality among races and just keep their mouths shut and never try to take Black/African American Studies courses in college to educate themselves?  Sorry, I'm really not buying any of that at all.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: ALoveSupreme on 03 Mar 2011, 18:35
The vocal majority who do it for reasons which are absolutely at odds with feminism. The assholes who take courses on women's studies to be in a class which will be predominantly females. The frustrated pseudo-paternal ultra-patronising males who definitely know more than mere women do about being female. The suspiciously super duper sex-positive men who are looking for a positive spin on their porn addictions. Mother fetishists who are looking for surrogate female acceptance in the face of social disinterest from sensible women. I could go on and on and on.

This logic to steer clear of identifying as a male feminist based on this just literally drives me crazy!

I mean, when I think about all the assholes who play music ONLY TO GET LAID or to "party brah" or whatever lame reason and not because they appreciate the history or the theory or the art or whatever... that doesn't mean I put my cornet or my saxophone or my guitar down and stop listening to and playing music and just bow out.  I do it because it is right for me and so effing what if those people are an embarrassment to what I consider an extremely important aspect of my life.   If you think something like feminism is right then why would you allow your opinion to be swayed by people like that?

AAAUUUGH I know I should get so crazy about this and I apologize and I don't mean to be such a jerk to you but this apparent apathy because of the actions of others just does not sit right.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: Johnny C on 04 Mar 2011, 00:02
I don't think a man can honestly claim to understand being a women and thus, I think they should defer on all matters which differentiate the sexes. We're talking literally the difference between men using the term feminist (which they are bizarrely adamant about being allowed to use, you notice?) and another slightly more respectable, dare I say it, modest term like pro-feminist, profeminist or feminist sympathiser etc.

what about trans/genderqueer/etc. individuals, are they allowed to call themselves feminists
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: Johnny C on 04 Mar 2011, 00:05
i mean what i am trying to get at is that the literal use of the term "feminism" seems like kind of a weird place to draw the line and start practicing biological essentialism
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: tommydski on 04 Mar 2011, 03:08
To this logic, white people should not support equality among races and just keep their mouths shut and never try to take Black/African American Studies courses in college to educate themselves?  Sorry, I'm really not buying any of that at all.

By all means go but don't black yourself up and tell people you know what it's like to be African American.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: tommydski on 04 Mar 2011, 03:13
what about trans/genderqueer/etc. individuals, are they allowed to call themselves feminists

I've met maybe one transgender person I could call a friend so I'm not really capable of making this kind of judgement call.

It's a complex issue but I'd assume that at the point whereby you're actively passing as a female in the eyes of other people, I'd say you're a lot closer to being a feminist than a man. Other feminists might disagree though so I have no idea.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: tommydski on 04 Mar 2011, 03:18
AAAUUUGH I know I should get so crazy about this and I apologize and I don't mean to be such a jerk to you but this apparent apathy because of the actions of others just does not sit right.

I think you're taking this somewhere else entirely. I'm just saying I don't think males should call themselves feminists.

You can act in a pro-feminist way and study feminism, that's all good. I just have problems with the widespread misappropriation of the term amongst men and I don't like it when males call themselves feminists, for reasons I've already explained in reasonable depth.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: KharBevNor on 04 Mar 2011, 05:34
Well that sucks Tommy because I'm labelling YOU a feminist.

You're a feminist.

Everyone's a feminist! Except the people who aren't.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: Elysiana on 04 Mar 2011, 05:52
I also don't understand why men shouldn't be allowed to call themselves feminists. Are we using the same definition of feminism? It feels like you're attaching something extra to it, or that you're assuming that those who do are correct.

Which of course is fine; I'm just wondering what you define it as?
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: ALoveSupreme on 04 Mar 2011, 06:36
To this logic, white people should not support equality among races and just keep their mouths shut and never try to take Black/African American Studies courses in college to educate themselves?  Sorry, I'm really not buying any of that at all.

By all means go but don't black yourself up and tell people you know what it's like to be African American.

It feels like you have encountered every kind of asshole male faux-feminist ever.  

My problem with your definitions of what you have seen in males in feminism is that none of these traits are feminist traits.  They're traits of people that are assholes.  

A suburb-y white kid that puts on a backward cap and some baggy jeans and starts talking like Seth Green from Can't Hardly Wait once they get into a black studies course isn't someone who is interested in the gradual "eradication" of racism.  He's just an asshole.
And a dude that takes a women's studies course that wants to "meet chicks" isn't a feminist. He's an asshole.

Either way, yes, I completely agree with you.  People like this are an insult to black people and women.  But what I'm gathering from your stance is that every other white person and every other male should just "stay out of it," because of people like this?  Actually, from the quote above it's o.k. for someone that is not black to take a course to educate themselves but guys who take women's studies courses are jerks?

I think this is becoming a cyclical argument and obviously no one here will be "changing anyone's mind" on the internet, but of all the weirdest and most foreign-to-me viewpoints I have ever encountered on the internet, this one takes the cake.  I don't mean offense by that, I'm just trying to give a rationale for why I keep responding, I usually don't let myself get into such long winded "internet debates" like this.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: tommydski on 04 Mar 2011, 09:01
And a dude that takes a women's studies course that wants to "meet chicks" isn't a feminist. He's an asshole.

He's an asshole who has cheapened the word and the concept to the point whereby you might as well just call everything and everyone a feminist if he's entitled to do the same.

But what I'm gathering from your stance is that every other white person and every other male should just "stay out of it," because of people like this?  Actually, from the quote above it's o.k. for someone that is not black to take a course to educate themselves but guys who take women's studies courses are jerks?

No, that's why I've said the opposite of this like three times now. You can study what you want, I actively encourage it if it interests you. I have and ultimately I decided that men who describe themselves as feminists are often a hindrance to the cause rather than a boon and thus, I won't call myself a feminist.

I think this is becoming a cyclical argument and obviously no one here will be "changing anyone's mind" on the internet, but of all the weirdest and most foreign-to-me viewpoints I have ever encountered on the internet, this one takes the cake.

Yes, it is outlandishly bizarre that somebody might not want to call themselves a feminist. I mean aside from all the books and essays which suggest exactly the same thing and the extensive male feminist/pro-feminist/profeminist debate which has been ongoing for literally your entire life.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: pwhodges on 04 Mar 2011, 09:08
How much of the effort put into discussing the meaning of the label "feminism", and who is allowed to wear it, has any effect on the possible progress towards greater equity or equality?  In fact, does not arguing about it too much end up discrediting the whole idea in many people's minds to some extent?
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: tommydski on 04 Mar 2011, 09:33
Alternately, if male chauvinists calling themselves feminists are a significant obstacle for female equality, how will we know without at least acknowledging the debate?
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: Elysiana on 04 Mar 2011, 09:33
Tommy, for some reason what you'd said before had led me to believe that you didn't want to call yourself a feminist because female feminists thought it was wrong that you should. I don't know why, but it wasn't clear to me that YOU are trying to distance yourself from those who call themselves feminists wrongly. Is this closer to what you are saying? To some extent I can understand that, but (I hate this example, it feels trite at this point, I apologize) just because the WBC calls themselves Christians doesn't mean that those who truly follow a Christ-like path should not also call themselves Christians; or that because some of the proponents of racial equity have gone off the deep end, those who are truly fighting for equality should feel the need to step back.

That's not to say you are wrong (I don't feel that any of this is a matter of right and wrong); but I do feel sad that you feel it's gotten to the point where the vocal minority has hurt the cause so much as to have to distance yourself from the name of the movement because of the fear/frustration that you will be misunderstood. Has the word "feminist" really become that loaded? If so, I feel like something has gone terribly wrong somewhere along the line.

Labels frustrate me to begin with. I hate that we as humans feel the need to put things in little boxes and then act like we understand them. Labels shouldn't define us, but they tend to give us that book cover that people judge us by.

<edit > P.S. Thank you for being patient with all my questions and prodding; my brain has been kind of muddled lately. I'm not meaning to argue, just needing to clarify for my sake. </edit>
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: Yunior on 04 Mar 2011, 10:47
There are also, like, legions of women who misappropriate the label for transparent political gain and whose conceptualization of feminism is, to my mind, fairly antifeminist. Like, should I drop the label because Sarah Palin tries to join the club? To me, that's just more reason to be loud about taking ownership of the label and pointing out the ways I disagree with her and the ways in which I feel she's sullied the label by tacking it onto her own political views.

It really is a damned if you do, damned if you don't situation for pro-feminist/feminist men, so I can appreciate the lengths you've gone to find a label that works for you and your conceptualization of feminism. But I'm just saying, y'know, open invitation from me to you, or if you just wanna whisper the label quietly to yourself from time to time, it wouldn't, like, explode my brain or anything.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: Radical AC on 04 Mar 2011, 11:29
There are also, like, legions of women who misappropriate the label for transparent political gain and whose conceptualization of feminism is, to my mind, fairly antifeminist. Like, should I drop the label because Sarah Palin tries to join the club? To me, that's just more reason to be loud about taking ownership of the label and pointing out the ways I disagree with her and the ways in which I feel she's sullied the label by tacking it onto her own political views.

I think that is why it is important to understand the ideology of feminism, be confident in it, and correctly assert it.  If someone claims to be a feminist then you can make general claims about their beliefs.  If they come back and say, "That isn't what I meant, I don't believe that," then you can call them on being feminist.  If I, as a man, claim to be feminist and am told by a woman also claiming to be a feminist that because of my gender I can't be a feminist, then I would call her out on understanding what the feminist ideology is.  That is not to advocate calling people out on their beliefs as a fallacy monger, but rather the right to question someone's convictions who questions yours.  Or, question people who claim equality and hypocritically assert the antithesis.  It can all seem very semantical, but it is important to avoid confusion and assert equality.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: ALoveSupreme on 04 Mar 2011, 11:49
I just noticed my "message under my username" ("position" title?) is "Vagina Manifesto."  ... is this by coincidence or is someone making fun of me  :?
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: Scandanavian War Machine on 04 Mar 2011, 11:50
coincidence
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: ALoveSupreme on 04 Mar 2011, 11:51
Then that is sort of amazing.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: Yunior on 04 Mar 2011, 12:49
If someone claims to be a feminist then you can make general claims about their beliefs.

Yes, feminism is a monolith and all feminists think exactly like. Ergo, we can safely conclude that, in addition to fighting for gender equality, feminists are all man-hating, bra-burning, nazi lesbian shitasses who abort babies on their lunch-break and don't shave their pubes
No
NO
DON'T CORRECT ME I SAID IT AND I'M A FEMINIST SO I'M RIGHT AND YOU'RE A STUPID MAN PERSON WITH A PENIS GO AWAY
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: tommydski on 04 Mar 2011, 13:19
Has the word "feminist" really become that loaded?

In my experience, yes. As I keep mentioning, this is through personal experience and I don't necessarily expect anybody to agree with me. Though I would say that I meet a lot of feminists who continue to be rankled and deeply suspicious of men who openly profess to being feminists. My first girlfriend, an admitted militant feminist, once told me that amongst her female friends "male feminist" was the term they used for suspected date rapists and persistent sex pests. The more men I have seen in person and online who claim to be feminists, the more I've understood why this kind of misandry occurs. As I keep saying, there's probably a lot of really terrific pro-feminists out there but I never really seem to meet them. JC, sure, I understand why he would call himself a feminist and I think he's more respectful of women than basically any other guy I have ever met so that's one point to the menfolk. Alas, he's in a minority.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: tommydski on 04 Mar 2011, 13:23
But I'm just saying, y'know, open invitation from me to you, or if you just wanna whisper the label quietly to yourself from time to time, it wouldn't, like, explode my brain or anything.

Regardless, from roughly a thousand conversations with women who are against the notion of males as feminists, I wouldn't be comfortable with it.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: tommydski on 04 Mar 2011, 13:25
It doesn't cheapen the term unless you go along with it and agree that everyone that calls themselves feminists are actually feminists.

Amen.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: KvP on 04 Mar 2011, 13:27
Like I said earlier I think the waffling over where men fit into feminist movements is a valid thing. I've been called a "feminist man" by people whose credentials I find beyond reproach but it honestly doesn't really come up that much and when it does it's brought up by people whose credentials aren't. I've never really felt comfortable in feminist orgs, but then, that's not really their problem.

But I guess the main thing here is that the way all this came up kind of smacks of power-evasiveness. There's feminist being and there's feminist action, and all the hemming and hawing over the former seems (to me) to be a method for avoiding the latter. It really should not matter what you identify yourself as. A "pro-feminist" man rendered passive by the weight of his own privilege is as useless to feminism as a man with no conception of privilege at all. It's something you see all the fucking time. It's what happens when a man learns ugly things about pervasive oppression and cannot deny or forget it. Passivity, in a lot of ways, is probably the most profound expression of privilege. The ability to throw up your hands and say "this is impossible and I can do no good and I'll only complicate things" is an option that men have because they're not affected by the things women are. It's a way of living comfortably with inequality, and it's the coward's way out.

You're not going to be a perfect feminist, nobody is. You're not going to have a "real" cognizance of the female experience, no one does. You are going to fuck up, but that really shouldn't matter, and cognizance and humility are the only things that should be expected of you. You just have to learn to be derided by misguided and misinformed people  (don't you already do that, as someone who is not really all that "normal"?) and be content with the small clutch of people who will understand and support you, and get more derision than support in general. Your experience as a feminist isn't really going to be all that different from a woman's in that regard.

When it gets to the point that you can't give name to a problem (female underrepresentation in a form of music that is deemed more "real" and "authentic" than all others) because doing so as a man is somehow counterproductive in remedying it, that's a point at which your conception of male feminism has gone tits-up, so to speak. It's worse than useless.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: tommydski on 04 Mar 2011, 13:28
If I, as a man, claim to be feminist and am told by a woman also claiming to be a feminist that because of my gender I can't be a feminist, then I would call her out on understanding what the feminist ideology is.

You know there's a bunch of different interpretations of feminist ideology right?

Like, you might be wrong. She might be right.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: Yunior on 04 Mar 2011, 13:31
But I'm just saying, y'know, open invitation from me to you, or if you just wanna whisper the label quietly to yourself from time to time, it wouldn't, like, explode my brain or anything.

Regardless, from roughly a thousand conversations with women who are against the notion of males as feminists, I wouldn't be comfortable with it.

omg you've said this like a thousand times and I am not trying to get you to call yourself a feminist and I completely respect why you wouldn't want to, I was just being nice for chrissake

Title: Re: women and music
Post by: tommydski on 04 Mar 2011, 13:36
There's feminist being and there's feminist action, and all the hemming and hawing over the former seems (to me) to be a method for avoiding the latter.

That's kind of my point in a roundabout way. From years playing in bands and living with active feminist women, I saw how they were still working on the issues of gender equality in practical ways like creating and distributing feminist information and literature, encouraging other women to take the initiative in creating and maintaining the means of production of art, working and volunteering with foundations and charities who supported rape and incest survivors, battered women shelters etc. They were always busy, always working on something which benefited women. It felt like a liberation movement. To me, that's feminism. Doing, not saying or saying you do and not doing anything.

I don't really do anything beyond trying to treat women with respect and thus, that's yet another reason I'm not ready to call myself a feminist.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: tommydski on 04 Mar 2011, 13:44
omg you've said this like a thousand times and I am not trying to get you to call yourself a feminist and I completely respect why you wouldn't want to, I was just being nice for chrissake

Don't take it personally, at this point I'm just responding to individual posts without even checking to see who is making them and I'm used to having to repeat myself a number of times due to the fact that people commonly assume things about me from my sarcastic, deliberately irreverent internet persona (which is understandable because for most people it's all they have to go on). I appreciate your civility and patience, please don't take my brevity of response as ingratitude.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: Radical AC on 04 Mar 2011, 16:08
If I, as a man, claim to be feminist and am told by a woman also claiming to be a feminist that because of my gender I can't be a feminist, then I would call her out on understanding what the feminist ideology is.

You know there's a bunch of different interpretations of feminist ideology right?

Like, you might be wrong. She might be right.

I generally operate and speak from the point of view of liberal feminism.  And, assume the same of others unless otherwise specified.  I don't think I've ever met anyone that claimed to be a feminist who meant it as a conservative feminist, nor would I expect that I am having a long discussion on the topic with a radical feminist.  I'm not trying to say there is a ridged structure of uniform thought in the ideology, but to realize that all ideologies have basic tenants that must be subscribed to in order to be of that ideology.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: KharBevNor on 04 Mar 2011, 16:56
What viewpoints and opinions are universal to all feminists? I can't think of anything that I can't easily bust apart and I'm far from an expert on the spectrum of feminist thought, though I know the basics.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: pwhodges on 05 Mar 2011, 03:49
And the rest.  I can't help feeling that once enough people simply live this way, it will truly have more effect than -isms, which are seen by so many as divisive in their own right.  Can we head straight for that goal, or do we have no alternative but to go through the pain of the imperfect route that we seem to be on at present?  I simply don't know.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: KvP on 05 Mar 2011, 03:55
That people should be regarded as equals regardless of sex/gender?
Sort of? Liberal feminism and its satellites, yeah absolutely, that's the whole premise. Difference feminists wouldn't argue for equality, but instead for a revaluation of things that make people different. And there are spheres where most feminists would argue against equality - most would not support equal say for both parents of a growing fetus, for example. It would be generally (but not universally) agreed that the mother's judgment should be more valid than the father's. Lots of Dominance feminists would find "gender-blindness" highly suspect, etc.

Also ideally feminists are concerned with things beyond sex and gender, but that's as much an activism issue as an intersectionality one.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: tommydski on 05 Mar 2011, 03:57
Frankly the equity feminist/gender feminist binary remains one of the most common anti-feminist/MRA/misogynist tactics I see trotted out in every debate on the male feminism issue.

By purposefully avoiding or discrediting a massive chunk of feminist theory, we're essentially participating in socialised patriarchy by a different means.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: pwhodges on 05 Mar 2011, 04:00
most would not support equal say for both parents of a growing fetus, for example.

But that is designing inequality into a system which should surely be aiming at equality.  However, equality needs to be measured right - say, equivalence of respect for each person's contribution, which would automatically deal with the case of the foetus, for instance.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: KharBevNor on 05 Mar 2011, 05:11
I just realised that in this thread Tommy is a dude who is saying who can and can't be a feminist, which is pretty funny when you think about it.

Would you really lump all people and ideas involved in the 'men's movement' or whatever in as misogynists? Though many (most?) of the people who identify as such are reactionary there are those who are not, and there are issues (conscription, street violence, violence and sexual violence in male-only prisons, etc.) which are important but don't necessarily fall under the remit of feminism (nor should they, feminism is about helping women). There are people who write on these topics who are explicitly not hostile to feminism. The important thing about oppressive systems like male privilege is to realise that, whilst mainting the moral distinction between the oppressor (especially the witting oppressor) and the oppressed, such systems have negative impacts on the oppressors as well. Almost no one in an oppressive system is really free. Abstract concepts like 'honour', 'manhood' and whatnot, intimately tied up with the social system that oppresses women, have lead many men to pointless misery and death over the years, whilst also fuelling the oppression of women. Why this realisation is important is because many men have the mentality that for the goals of feminism to succeed they will have to give up something, whilst actually the liberation of women from the social construct of femininity results in the liberation of men from the social construct of masculinity (and of course the liberation of LGBT people from basically everything).
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: tommydski on 05 Mar 2011, 06:35
I just realised that in this thread Tommy is a dude who is saying who can and can't be a feminist, which is pretty funny when you think about it.

Or more accurately, that I don't call myself feminist because I'm not comfortable with the notion and remain suspicious of most men who do.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: pwhodges on 05 Mar 2011, 06:46
ITT everyone agrees, but disagrees that they are agreeing!
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: Yunior on 05 Mar 2011, 11:41
I really, really do not think we are agreeing. Tommy has his particular strain of feminism that makes sense to him, but puts him in a bit of a bind label-wise because that strain does not want any of Tommy's meddling. And honestly that makes perfect sense if you give it more than maybe five seconds of thought? Like, of course feminism should be wary of absorbing men. Not because men are actively bad people (insert Tommy's probable dissent here), but because a feminism that is successfully absorbing a lot of men has probably changed itself to make it more palliative to men, and ideas that are palliative to men are historically not very good for women. And then everyone in this thread (sorry to lump us all together, I'm not suggesting we all think alike), operating from their own conceptualization of feminism that differs from Tommy's, is like, Tommy, you should call yourself a feminist! And he is like, nooo. And we are like, yeah! Yeah yeah yeah!

Unless I'm incorrectly representing the thread, there is a fundamental disagreement about what feminism should look like going on here. Neither is without merit, but they are fairly different.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: tommydski on 05 Mar 2011, 12:03
I feel like it's important sometimes to speak for those who are unrepresented amongst the limited demographic of this forum. I'm positing an opinion which remains prevalent in feminism and I won't abandon it just because it's outside the limited experience of people who don't realise that there are alternate interpretations which are surprisingly popular. I know pro-feminist men who share my opinion, as well as active feminists who believe exactly the same. It's not a equity feminism/gender feminism thing, it's a matter of not wanting to infringe on a term which already has very specific meaning to many women.

I don't think I can put it more eloquently than the natural science and pro-feminist writer Chris Clarke so I'll just quote his most famous essay verbatim -

Quote
Why I Am Not A Feminist

There’s a recent blog discussion-cum-argument-cum-slagfest that started in discussion of why a couple of blogs run by self-identified “male feminist” bloggers are feeling less than welcoming to some women due to extensive tolerance of sexist commenters. The discussion has so far spanned about forty different blogs that I know of and spawned a couple five subdiscussions, some of which have pitted people I admire and love against one another. One of the bloggers at the center of the storm opined that perhaps the reason he and one other male writer were taking such heat — some of which I delivered — was that there are so few male feminist bloggers, and thus he and the other were the subjects of rather high expectations.

This irritated me for a couple of reasons, one of which I spoke up about in response to his statement. That was this: there are quite a few male bloggers who write thoughtful stuff about feminist issues, on non-single-issue blogs. I try to do that myself here. I usually can’t stand the thought of writing here about stuff I feel I’m expected to write about, an infantile disorder that caused me, when inundated with Koufax traffic looking for political writing, to write post after post of telegraphic poetry about the nature of thought and writing and existence and birdwatching. The astute reader will note that there is not a single post here about South Dakota’s abortion ban. This isn’t because I don’t have strong opinons on the subject, far from it. It’s because ten thousand people have said stuff on their blogs about the South Dakota abortion ban, and I have nothing new to add here that hasn’t been said. I don’t write about feminism all the time because I don’t write about anything all the time, not even the subjects with which I have rather more familiarity. Plus, when I do write about feminist issues here, I quite likely betray my own middle-aged vanilla hetboy bias and privilege. Nonetheless, the insinuation that few men are blogging about sexism just because there are only two prominent, self-identified “male-feminist” blogs rankled me to no end, as if I was being told that I am not a desert blogger or nature writer because I sometimes post pictures of my pet bunny.

But there’s something else. It’s this:

I am not a feminist.

I support feminism and feminist activists. Which is not to say that I agree with every statement by every such activist, or every proposal that has been floated in the name of feminism. But those disagreements tend to pop up either in the realm of feminist metatheory or in places where i feel those activists have not sufficiently grounded their feminism in the context of other issues, such as racism and nationalism. Really, that’s less than a single-digit percentage of the feminist statements I encounter in my life, and I read the blog slagfests. I am a wholehearted supporter of feminist politics and a fervent believer in applying those politics to my personal life — though the women who are part of that personal life will likely tell you that I have far to go in that respect.

I am not a feminist.

I see my name mentioned in more and more places in the feminist blog world as “one of the rare men who gets it.” This gratifies and depresses me, and confuses me not a little. I suspect that some of this is that privilege mentioned above, in which a man who says certain eminently sensible, obvious, just, and humane things about feminism and sexism gets more recognition than a woman who says the same things. I suspect some of it is that I love women, and no matter how you parse that you will likely be right. I suspect some of it is that I cannot imagine my freedom, my rights to be fully realized in any system that deprives others of those rights and that freedom, and women are systematically deprived of those rights and freedoms.

I am not a feminist.

I think rape is a war on women, a systematic hate crime that is mainly treated as a crime against male property, even in North America. I think women have the right to determine the fate of their own bodies. I support legal, accessible, and government subsidized abortion up until the hour before birth. I support free availability of RU-486 and the morning after pill, free access to contraceptives, free public health and contraception education, and an end to gag rules of any sort. I see a dozen systemic social, political, and environmental issues, global and local, that can best be addressed by providing education and political power to women. I support free prenatal care and wages for housework, a.k.a. the guaranteed income. I support Shulamith Firestone’s notion of exploring ways to disengage human reproduction from gender. I support Dad changing half the goddamn diapers.

I am not a feminist.

I agree with the notion that women are the sex class, whether or not they work in the sex industry, and I find this commodification of a human being’s most personal activity abhorrent. I feel this applies equally to prostitution, porn, and primping for the prom. I refuse to condescend to the women who have found themselves being so commodified.

I am not a feminist.

Feminism has been described as the radical notion that women are people. But that is a bon mot, good for opening a few minds but not as a working definition of a philosophy or an ideology. Here is what I think feminism is: Feminism is a liberation movement. Though it takes multifarious forms, and there are probably more feminisms than there are feminists, that is what it comes down to, especially if you grant a broad definition of the word liberation. Feminism is the movement to free women from sexism, to free them from the oppression — whether murder, mutilation, or mere slight statistical lack of employment opportunity — visited on them by men… and by other women.

I am a sympathizer. I am a fellow traveler. At my best, I am an ally. But I am a member of the class against which feminism is aimed. I can do my best to be a traitor to that class. More and more men do, and I think no one would deny that the material support we can provide is crucial, whether talking to other men, offering political and financial and emotional support to feminist activists, or just doing the damn dishes half the time.

I read Cherrie Moraga and Gloria Anzaldua’s This Bridge Called My Back the year it was published, and found it invaluable in understanding a part of American culture I had until then missed. Were I to call myself a Chicana as a result of my poltical support, I would be laughed out of the planning meeting. I have been marching in Pride Parades for a quarter century, and had mainly gay friends in college for a decade before that. Even with broadening definition of the term, calling myself a “Queer activist” would almost certainly raise eyebrows. I cut my political eyeteeth working on the defense of the Attica prison riot defendants. That does not make me a Black Power activist.

My goal is to be the best ally to feminists I can be, in the political realm and in the much more difficult personal realm.

But I cannot call myself a feminist: the label is not mine to claim.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: Johnny C on 05 Mar 2011, 13:44
yeah, we're talking about appropriation here, which is very, very thorny. i should really stress that personally i didn't wake up one day and say "i'm going to start calling myself a feminist now," nor did i reach that conclusion after reading a bunch of feminist theory and agreeing (largely) with it; in fact, up until about last spring, i used "profeminist" myself. it was only after basically being argued into it by women that i saw it as something acceptable. tommy said earlier in the thread to defer to the people who know – and i really, really doubt the women i've talked to on the subject would tell me that identifying myself as a feminist is acceptable in order to like soothe me somehow, or whatever it would accomplish, especially since i made it pretty clear that it wasn't an uncomfortable choice. if anyone is reading this thread and actually on the fence about this, i'd encourage you to talk to the women in your life and defer to them, as well. equality in a broad ethical sense is meant to benefit everybody, but that doesn't mean members of the oppressing group automatically have the right to put on the equality team jersey, you know?

i should also point out that it almost never comes up, outside of discussions with feminist/profeminist types. most conversations you don't go around stating your own personal ideology or conveying the things you identify yourself as. even moreso for actually taking action. what speaks is the action, first and foremost.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: Nodaisho on 05 Mar 2011, 13:51
That people should be regarded as equals regardless of sex/gender?
Tell that to the transwomen that get kicked out of feminist women-only gatherings.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: nufan on 05 Mar 2011, 14:37
Some might disagree, but I think that has been an A+ thread so far. Good debating peeps. It has, however, moved away from talking about one of the two most important words in the title. While discussions of feminism/women equality issues are obviously very important, this was a thread to discuss it in the sphere of music.

In respect to that, I've been reading some interesting (http://www.amazon.com/This-Your-Brain-Music-Obsession/dp/0525949690) books (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Music-Instinct-Works-Cant-Without/dp/1847920888) on music which touch on its' evolutionary basis. One of the theories is that in caveman days, musical talent was indicative of spare time and a solid life foundation; if you could play an instrument well you had to have plenty of food and a good house so you could waste your hours learning an instrument and this made you more attractive to potential mates. Thus a culture arose where an evolutionary advantage was to be gained by men playing instruments well, and perhaps we are still used to this. I'm unsure as to how much I agree with the theory (particularly as it isn't the only theory on why we make music), and would like to think it should cease to matter in civilised society, but perhaps not.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: tommydski on 05 Mar 2011, 14:46
Some might disagree, but I think that has been an A+ thread so far. Good debating peeps. It has, however, moved away from talking about one of the two most important words in the title. While discussions of feminism/women equality issues are obviously very important, this was a thread to discuss it in the sphere of music.

Yeah, we should definitely talk about that instead. Well said.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: KvP on 05 Mar 2011, 14:53
While evo psych is fun to think about, it's best to take it with a humongous grain of salt. Most if not all of the time it is generally used to explain and reinforce existing gender norms (cavemen being theorized as sexually aggressive hunters, for example, justifies views of women as sexless and weak and men as violent).

Anyway, the better theory is that appreciation for / ability to create music is a happy byproduct of being creatures that have the ability to process and use complex vocalizations to communicate. Animals that have the ability to communicate, however simply, with vocalizations have been shown to respond to music in ways other animals don't.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: nufan on 05 Mar 2011, 15:31
Anyway, the better theory is that appreciation for / ability to create music is a happy byproduct of being creatures that have the ability to process and use complex vocalizations to communicate. Animals that have the ability to communicate, however simply, with vocalizations have been shown to respond to music in ways other animals don't.

I'd be interested to read where you got this from, as from what I've read it's not similar, as in humans are the only species to value music as an activity in-and-of itself with no obvious role outside of attracting mates. Songbirds etc seem to use it exclusively of attracting partners by creating the most complex lines they can, whereas humans use it to bond as a social group among other reasons.

Also, I agree with you that it is a potential minefield and can be used to reinforce stereotypes, I think it can also be used to avoid those same stereotypes. We're a civilised society, and as such should be rejecting cavemen-like behaviour such as the "role" (ugh) of women wrt (in this discussion) music. However, it could help explain how we arrived at the point we have.
Title: Re: women and music
Post by: KvP on 05 Mar 2011, 15:56
Quote
I'd be interested to read where you got this from, as from what I've read it's not similar, as in humans are the only species to value music as an activity in-and-of itself with no obvious role outside of attracting mates
Traits don't need an obvious role or benefit to be selected, they only need not kill whatever they're exhibited in. It's one of the little annoying things about evo psych, that every little thing that people do has something directly to do with finding a mate or food or whatever. It doesn't really work that way.

Anyway here's some article (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/09/06/AR2009090601990_2.html?sid=ST2009090602142). This is a derail so if you want to, you should start another thread.