In my previous blog, I wrote a piece about a girl I knew who is an amazing musician. It had the same title as this does but other than the title (which was a rip off of a female fronted night I used to go too) I never once mentioned her gender.
So, in honor of International Women’s Day, I want to speak about the struggles that Women face everyday just because we have a magical, human building reproductive system and a couple love lumps.
There has been a huge rise in ‘GRLPWR‘ and ‘Female Fronted‘ events, putting the emphasis on ‘Female‘ has started to become a trend. Now, I can’t decide whether this is a good or a bad thing! I’ve been wracking my brain about it and, I can see so many positives. Awareness, Exposure, Empowerment, Respect, Self Love, Equality. But in my head all those giant positives are out weighed by a stigma that brands confident women as, man hating or alienating. It’s a tough nut to crack. And by no means, am I saying ‘I have the answer’. But I’ve been thinking about it a lot recently.
My band, Orchards, constantly gets labeled a ‘Female Fronted Band‘. Although being physically correct, it grinds me like nothing else. Do, The 1975 get labeled, Male Fronted or All Male? No. Do, Queen get labeled Male Fronted? No. So why must all bands with a lady in the front be labeled Female Fronted? Does my sexuality make a different to the quality of my music, do my boobs stifle my creativity? What is it?
I’ve read a few books about creative careers being labeled “female” and how it makes no sense whatsoever. That the phrase, “you’re good for a girl” is so prevalent in creative industries and puts a clause on all our hard work. If anything, in the current climate, we have no choice but to work god damn harder. The inequality we face in the creative industries is all I can speak about because I don’t have any experience of other industries, so I’m not ignoring, I just don’t know. The inequality amongst musicians, comedians, dancers, actors, artists, all creatives is sadly, something I hate to say I’ve experienced quite often. A question will be asked to the band and directed past me to the lads. Why? What makes you think I won’t know the answer to that? I’ve earned my place in the music industry! I don’t admit to know everything about the ins and outs of my bands set up, how Will has his cymbals and what their names are, what Pedals Sam has or what Daniel’s bass amp is called. But, if I’m the only member of the band who’s near you ask and I might be able to help. I can try my hardest and chances are I either know the answer or I can work it out, because funnily enough Women have brains in our glitter filled heads.
I’ve spoken to a lot of Women recently about how they feel their place is in the industry and they have mostly said the same thing. We feel like we have a constant looming clause over our heads, an expectation we are shit because we’re not male. I’m not shit because I’m not a man. A man, quite clearly, couldn’t do what I do. Not for lack of skill just science (bitch).
Its becoming increasingly difficult for Women to be outwardly confident as a Female, my confidence in my abilities very quickly is turned into, being a Diva or being a Bitch, where as my male counterparts can be as confident as they see fit and just be seen as ‘macho’. I can’t see the correlation. I am very lucky to be in a band with 3 extremely talented men who all play music because they love it and want to spread the joy that music gives people. Their outward emotion doesn’t come into play when performing, the fact they are wearing pink doesn’t make them less manly. So why does my confidence and outfit have to claw away at my skill and determination? (I don’t have an answer to this but I just wanted to make a point)
I recently had a conversation with a power house woman who’s day to day job is a teacher but who is also a bad ass Producer on the side. She made a brilliant point that I’m going to eloquently steal. “Female is not a Genre“. Female is not a Genre. Think about that. Too often we label a person by their gender. But what if you’re wrong what if that person isn’t Female or even Male for that matter. Gender is a wonderfully fluid thing. It is a spectrum and I think very slowly but surely the world is waking up to this.
I love and take inspiration from Women who are unapologetically themselves, to name a few; Audrey Hepburn, Sheridan Smith, Barbara Streisand, Gwen Stefani, my Mum. They are who they are and if you don’t like it, well frankly swivel.
Women are majestic, complicated, caring, heart led, hard working creatures and this post is celebrating all the hard working Women in thr world who are just trying to get through the day without ruining their mascara.
Be kind to each other ladies, it’s only going to get tougher.
Put your big girl knickers on and deal with it!
(photograph by Forest Ashton)